This Sunday's message: The Song of Zechariah

Posts with the tag “christmas”

December 25
by Pat Damiani on December 25th, 2023
Today's Reading: Revelation 21:1-8Merry Christmas!Just as God came to dwell with us temporarily with the birth of Jesus, one day He will come to us again ad dwell permanently with those who have placed their faith in Jesus.  Notice once again that we don't come to God based on our own efforts, He comes to us.This ends our Bible reading plan for this year. But don't quit reading the Bible! Read som...  Read More
December 24
by Pat Damiani on December 24th, 2023
Today's Reading: Isaiah 52:13-53:12Without the death and resurrection of Jesus, Christmas would lose its meaning. In this passage, Isaiah describes a Messiah who would be rejected and despised by His people (similar to what we read in John about the darkness rejecting the light). That little baby born in a manger in Bethlehem would grow up and willingly subject Himself to the humiliation of the cr...  Read More
December 23
by Pat Damiani on December 23rd, 2023
Today's Reading: John 1:16-17Grace and truth correspond to the two central attributes of God that we we throughout the Old Testament - His steadfast love (remember "hesed"?) and His faithfulness. Jesus is the ultimate expression of God's covenant loyalty and His unmerited favor to world that has largely rejected Him.Take some time today to thank God for those attributes and for loving you so much ...  Read More
December 22
by Pat Damiani on December 22nd, 2023
Today's Reading: John 1:9-14It's really easy to overlook the significance of what John writes here. Unfortunately, we often hear people say something like, "After all, we're all God's children". But that just isn't true. Only those who are willing to "receive" Jesus and "believe in His name" become God's children.As we've talked about often before, the kind of "belief" that John writes about in hi...  Read More
December 21
by Pat Damiani on December 21st, 2023
Today's Reading: John 1:6-8, 15John's role was to testify to Jesus, the light of the world. Even though God used him mightily, he understood his role and acknowledged that Jesus was far superior to him.If you think about it, that is the same role God has given us. Fortunately we don't have to dress in camel hair and eat locusts to do that. But each of of us who have seen the light have a responsib...  Read More
December 20
by Pat Damiani on December 20th, 2023
Today's Reading: John 1:1-5, 18John's gospel account doesn't give us any of the physical details regarding the birth of Jesus, like Matthew and Luke do. But He does reveal the purpose and meaning of the birth of Jesus. As "the Word", Jesus is God's final and most complete revelation of Himself - though no on has seen God, when we see Jesus, we understand the nature and character of God more comple...  Read More
December 19
by Pat Damiani on December 19th, 2023
Today's Reading: Luke 2:22-40What really strikes me here is how God continues to reveal the Messiah to common people rather than the religious or government leaders. We don't know anything of Simeon or Anna other than what we read here. They both seem to be just ordinary people who loved God and were seeking Him. Are you seeking God like that in your life?...  Read More
December 18
by Pat Damiani on December 18th, 2023
Today's Reading: Luke 2:8-21Ryan covered this passage in detail last Sunday so if you missed that you'll want to watch or listen to it.I want to focus on what this passage teaches us about evangelism. These shepherds weren't well educated. They hadn't been to seminary and probably didn't attend the synagogue each week. But when they encountered Jesus, it was their natural response to go and tell o...  Read More
December 17
by Pat Damiani on December 17th, 2023
Today's Reading: Luke 2:1-7A lot of our ideas about the Christmas story have been shaped by our own traditions as well as familiarity with the story. For instance, how many of us haven't been to a Christmas pageant or heard a sermon about the innkeeper who didn't have a vacancy and been exhorted to make sure we have room for Jesus in our lives? (By the way that is an important principle, just not ...  Read More
December 16
by Pat Damiani on December 16th, 2023
Today's Reading: Luke 1:67-80This song of Zechariah is often called the Benedictus, which is based on the first words of the song in Latin. The song is filled with Old Testament references that confirm that both the birth and ministry of John and the birth and ministry of Jesus are the fulfillment of God's promises that had been made centuries earlier. This means that the incarnation of Jesus was ...  Read More
December 15
by Pat Damiani on December 15th, 2023
Today's Reading: Luke 1:57-66It took a while, but Zechariah finally believed what God had revealed to him 9 months earlier. He demonstrated that belief by confirming that the child was to be named John, and not Zechariah after him. Throughout the Christmas narrative, we are reminded that the kind of belief that God is looking for always requires action on our part. It is always more than just an i...  Read More
December 14
by Pat Damiani on December 14th, 2023
Today's Reading: Luke 1:46-56This beautiful song of Mary is known as the Magnificat, which is Latin for "magnify". What is important to note here is that Mary magnifies God, and not herself. In spite of the fact that she has found favor with God and has received Elizabeth's blessing, she acknowledges that she is a sinner who needs a savior (see verse 47).I think that Mary would be appalled at some...  Read More
December 13
by Pat Damiani on December 13th, 2023
Today's Reading: Luke 1:39-45When Mary heard from the angel Gabriel that her relative Elizabeth was pregnant, she made the long  journey from Galilees to Judea - probably close to 100 miles - for a visit. I think Mary probably thought that if there was anyone who could understand her experience it had to be Elizabeth, who was also going to have a miraculous birth.Filled with the Holy Spirt, Elizab...  Read More
December 12
by Pat Damiani on December 12th, 2023
Today's Reading: Luke 1:26-38Ryan covered this passage in his message last Sunday, so if you want to dig into this some more, take some time to watch or listen to that message.Among the many things that fascinates me about this passage is what a great job Mary's parents must have done in order to develop such maturity and faith in a teenage girl. That challenges me to be doing the same thing in th...  Read More
December 11
by Pat Damiani on December 11th, 2023
Today's Reading: Luke 1:5-25There is another miraculous birth that precedes the birth of Jesus. Zechariah and Elizabeth have been barren all their lives and are now beyond child-bearing years (some hints of Abraham and Sarah here). In that culture, not being able to have children was considered to be a curse, which we see clearly in verse 25. But God was about to intervene supernaturally so that t...  Read More
December 10
by Pat Damiani on December 10th, 2023
Today's Reading: Matthew 2:19-23Verse 23 is interesting because there is no direct prophecy in the Old Testament that indicates the Messiah would come from Nazareth. In fact, there is some evidence in the New Testament that the people weren't expecting him to come form there. There are several possible explanations, but the most likely, in my opinion, is that Matthew is using Nazareth as a picture...  Read More
December 9
by Pat Damiani on December 9th, 2023
Today's Reading: Matthew 2:16-18This passage helps us determine the timing of the visit of the magi. Herod orders all the babies two years old and younger be killed, which was in accordance with the timeline the magi had given him.There is such a contrast between the kind of king that Herod was and Jesus. Herod was so afraid of losing his power that he was willing to murder innocent babies. Contra...  Read More
December 8
by Pat Damiani on December 8th, 2023
Today's Reading: Matthew 2:13-15Once again we see that Joseph listens to and obeys God. He takes Mary and Joseph and flees to Egypt. Since Joseph and Mary were poor, it is quite likely that their journey would have been funded from the valuable gifts that the magi had given when they worshiped Jesus. Isn't that just like God!This unlikely flight to Egypt also fulfilled an obscure prophecy of the M...  Read More
December 7
by Pat Damiani on December 7th, 2023
Today's Reading: Matthew 2:1-12Even though the visit of the magi likely came about 2 years after the birth of Jesus, because it is traditionally associated with His birth, we're going to include this account in our reading plan.There are a lot of traditions associated with these "wise men" that just aren't true. They were not kings, but rather kind of a cross between and astrologer and astronomer....  Read More
December 6
by Pat Damiani on December 6th, 2023
Today's Reading: Matthew 1:18-25A lot of what we'll be reading this Christmas season is so familiar to us that the danger is we'll fail to see the wonder surrounding the birth of Jesus. We could certainly do that here with Joseph.In his culture, having the women he was betrothed to become pregnant before the marriage took place was much more shameful than it is in our culture today. Btu Jacob was ...  Read More
December 5
by Pat Damiani on December 5th, 2023
Today's Reading: Matthew 1:1-17Let's be honest, most of us probably consider the genealogies in the Bible to be boring and we tend to just skim right over them. But this genealogy of Jesus is actually quite important - and interesting.There is another genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3, which is quite different form this one. The most likely explanation is that the genealogy here in Matthew is that of J...  Read More
December 4
by Pat Damiani on December 4th, 2023
Today's Reading: Micah 5:2-4Although there are many more Old Testament prophecies concerning the birth of Jesus, this is the last one we'll look at for a while.Here Micah reveals that the Messiah will come from the tribe of Judah, confirming what we saw previously in Jacob's blessing. But he also gives us some additional detail. The Messiah will come from Bethlehem, a small village located five mi...  Read More
December 3
by Pat Damiani on December 3rd, 2023
Today's Reading: Isaiah 9:6-7; Isaiah 11:1-5 We looked at the passage from Isaiah 9 in some detail in the sermon last Sunday. God promised to send His light into the world in the form of a baby - but not just any baby! That baby would be 100% man - he would be "born" - and 100% God - the names He is given belong to God alone.In Isaiah 11, we get a further description of that light. He will be from...  Read More
December 2
by Pat Damiani on December 2nd, 2023
Today's Reading: Genesis 49:8-12 In this chapter, we read Jacob's blessings that he pronounced on each of his sons.Our reading is his blessing on his son Judah. In contrast to his older brothers - Reuben, Simeon and Levi - Judah receives a favorable blessing. Every line of this blessing is prophetic and points ahead to Jesus, the Messiah. It is God's promise that the Messianic seed of the woman fr...  Read More
December 1
by Pat Damiani on December 1st, 2023
Today's Reading: Luke 1:1-4We're going to switch things up a bit for our Advent Bible reading plan. Most of the passages we'll be reading will be fairly short, so we'll have a reading for every day now through Christmas Day. I want to encourage you to consider reading these daily passages together as a family and discussing their significance. This is a great way to keep the focus on the real mean...  Read More