Daily D – Luke 2:51-52
Luke 2:51, 52 Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart. Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people. (NLT)
The final day of the calendar year is a good time to look back and ponder all that has happened since midnight turned December 31, 2022, into January 1, 2023. What has gone right? What has gone wrong? What is still uncertain? What is missing?
One last look back is fitting and fruitful for this day to finish the project known as 2023. Luke 2 is one of the most dramatic texts ever written. God shows up everywhere, quite often unexpectedly, dramatically, beautifully, and seriously. This is no mere baby announcement. This marks the beginning of the turning point upon which all of history begins to lean forward into eternity.
Verses 1-7 give us the circumstances and occurrence of Jesus’ birth.
Verses 8-20 tell us about a midnight angel choir who serenaded shepherds with good news for everyone and directions to see the one everyone will one day see for who he is and always has been.
Verses 21-24 tell us how Jesus was circumcised in keeping with the Jewish law code.
Verses 25-35 tell how a man who lived in full expectancy of the appearance of the Messiah was led to intersect Joseph, Mary, and Jesus there in the Temple that day.
Verses 36-38 tell how an old woman who gave her whole life to worship came up and spoke about God’s redemptive plan in Jesus.
Verses 39 and 40 tell about years of normal life and how Jesus grew into a strong man, filled with wisdom and full of grace.
Verses 41-50 tell about how Jesus was lost and left behind in Jerusalem. They found him sitting among the teachers, where he was listening and asking them questions.
Verses 51 and 52 above wrap up this narrative with a beautiful bow. “His mother kept all these things in her heart.”
Some memories provide a little bit of heaven on earth.
Jesus grew from a baby to a teenager to a man who “increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and with people.”
Look back today and give thanks for the wonders of the year now passing. Deal seriously with the unfinished business, especially with those lingering hurts, habits, and hangups. Seek clarity where there is confusion. Make plans to add what is necessary to begin the New Year as a fresh start.
Look ahead to this day a year from now. How will you intentionally grow in wisdom? How will you diligently improve your physical capacities? How will you live in favor with relatives, friends, coworkers, and those you meet along the way? How will you draw ever closer to the heart of God?
A few paragraphs looking backward can provide empowerment to live into the opportunities of 366 living rooms to come. Yes, 2024 is a Leap Year. We have one bonus day to become more of who God wants us to be so that he can demonstrate his love and compassion, mercy and grace, kindness and joy to everyone we influence.
Remember what the Bible tells us in 366 different places: Fear not. Stop being afraid. Live courageously. Eternity is in session. Live like heaven.
Wrap up this day and this year graciously. Begin the New Year with glad expectancy.
I will finish this year well.
Our Father, help me look back and gain proper perspective. Show me what to celebrate. Point out what I need to correct. Clarify my uncertainty. Provide what I need for what’s next. Empower me to live courageously with love that seeks the highest good of others, with compassion for those who are deeply wounded, with mercy for those who seek to wound themselves and others, with grace overflowing as abundantly as I have received it, with kindness as one of my most defining characteristics, and with joy as evidence of your presence and purpose in my life. Amen.
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Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Listen, Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. These words that I am giving you today are to be in your heart. Repeat them to your children. Talk about them when you sit in your house and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Bind them as a sign on your hand and let them be a symbol on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your city gates.“
Deuteronomy 1:2, 3 It is an eleven-day journey from Horeb to Kadesh-barnea by way of Mount Seir. In the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first of the month, Moses told the Israelites everything the Lord had commanded him to say to them.
Psalm 52:8, 9 ”But I am like a flourishing olive tree in the house of God; I trust in God’s faithful love forever and ever. I will praise you forever for what you have done. In the presence of your faithful people, I will put my hope in your name, for it is good.“