Author

Anne Johnston

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“Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,” Matthew 2:1

Although the Wise Men are often included in Nativity scenes and in pictures of Christmas, we know that they did not visit a baby in a manger. When they arrived in Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary were living in a house and Jesus was nearing two years old.

This Christmas many of us drove a long distance to be with our family for Christmas. We were willing to spend hours on the road in order to be with those we love. We had the use of a GPS, or maps to show us exactly where we are going, and even tell us how much time it would take us to reach our destination.

Think of the Magi as they studied history and astrology and how God revealed to them that the King of the Jews was soon to be born. They saw a star in the heavens and using it as a guide, they set out on their long journey. They didn’t have a map, or a GPS. Because they had to follow the star, they could only travel at night. They had no idea how long the trip would be.

We are not told how long it took them to reach Bethlehem, nor what dangers or trials they faced along the way. We only know that the star guided them and when they reached the house where the Child was, they fell down and worshiped Him, presenting Him with precious gifts. No doubt these gifts were part of God’s plan, because He knew that Joseph and Mary would be taking a trip to Egypt and would need provision for the journey.

We have the Scriptures that tell of the soon return of Jesus. We have His Holy Spirit that guides us each day. If we continue to seek Him and obey His leading, one day soon, we will see Him return in the clouds. What a wonderful day that will be.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for the hope you have given us of your soon return. Help us to live each day in expectancy and hope.

Devotion by Anne Johnston

“And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.” Luke 2:25

The Bible doesn’t tell us how old Simeon was nor at what point in his life, God had shown him that he would see the Christ before he died. He trusted the promise and hope kept him coming to the Temple day after day.

On the day that Mary and Joseph brought the Baby Jesus to fulfil the requirements of the law, the Holy Spirit led Simeon once again to the Temple. No doubt he had seen many babies there before, but this time it was different, he knew this was the One that had been promised. As he took the baby in his arms, he blessed God, saying that now he could depart in peace. He prophesied that salvation had come to Israel and to the Gentiles. He also spoke of the suffering that Jesus would endure.

Simeon had lived all his life for this one moment. What a joy it must have been for him to see the promise fulfilled. Today, we have the promise of our Saviour’s return, and so each day we live in expectation of His coming to take us to be with Him eternally. That is the hope that sustains us every day.

Prayer: Thank you Lord, that you came to earth to bring salvation, and that you will one day return to take us to be with you.

Devotion by Anne Johnston

“And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.” Luke 2:36-37

I remember what it was like when our children were little and how excited they would be about Christmas. We would tell them that there so many more sleeps before the day would come. Of course, they would ask every day, how much longer?

The people who were waiting and watching for Messiah to come did not have a specific day to look forward to. The promise had been given but the exact time was uncertain. Every day as they suffered under Roman rule, they hoped that Messiah would soon arrive, and set them free. For many of them it probably was just like a dream, and something that was never going to come to pass. But there were others, who awoke every day, thinking this might be the day.

Think of Anna as she ministered in the Temple. For many years she had watched and waited with hope in her heart. Perhaps, every morning as she went about her daily tasks, maybe cleaning the lamps in the Holy Place, or tidying up around the altar in the outer court, she would pause for a moment, look up toward Heaven, and wonder, “could this be the day He comes?” And then one day Mary and Joseph brought the baby Jesus to the Temple, and as joy filled her soul, she knew this was the one. She would not live to see Him perform miracles, or hear Him teach, but she rejoiced at His coming. God had rewarded her for her faithfulness.

Prayer: Jesus, we do not know the day or hour that you will return, but help us, like Anna, to keep watching and waiting for we know you will keep your promise.

Devotion by Anne Johnston