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Welcome back to “Praying the Names of Jesus.” If you missed the explanation for the name of
Jesus we’re studying this week, click here or scroll down to Monday’s entry.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:4-7)

Reflect On: Luke 2:1-20.
Praise God: For speaking to us through his Son.
Offer Thanks:For all the ways God has provided for you and your family, materially and spiritually.
Confess: Any failure to value God’s Word enough to read it regularly.
Ask God: To nourish you through his Word.

Have you heard the story about the first grader who drew a picture of the nativity in his Sunday school class? After complimenting him on his artistic ability, his teacher inquired about the round figure lurking in the corner of his drawing. Surprised that she hadn’t recognized him, the boy responded, “Oh, that’s round John Virgin!”
At a distance of two thousand years, it can be easy to get some of the details wrong. How many of us, for instance, picture Mary riding a donkey into Bethlehem? But the Bible never tells us whether Mary walked or rode on an animal. The only donkeys in the story are the ones that populate our crèche sets. And what about the three Magi who worshiped the infant in the stable? The Bible never specifies how many Magi were there, though it does say they presented Jesus with three gifts. But at least we know they worshiped the infant in the stable, right? Sorry! Matthew’s Gospel says Jesus was living in a house by the time the Magi arrived in Bethlehem. Some biblical scholars think he may have been a two-year-old by the time they caught up with him.
While none of these details significantly alter the meaning of the story, we sometimes miss details that do. Take the manger, for instance. There’s no disputing the fact that the Bible says Mary placed her baby in a feeding trough shortly after his birth. This detail highlights the humble circumstances surrounding his birth. We know that. But how many of us have ever wondered if there’s more to it – another reason why God’s Son began his life in a feeding trough? Could God have been telegraphing a message, hoping we would understand that Jesus would become a source of nourishment for his people, feeding and sustaining us throughout our lives?
As you read Scripture today remember that Jesus wants to nourish you – to share his life with you. Take time to meditate on what you are reading, asking his Spirit to give you understanding. As you meditate on God’s Word, remember that meditation simply means to ponder or to chew on something. Instead of going away hungry, ask God today to help you feed on his Word, to let it satisfy your longings and fill up your empty places.
–Ann Spangler
Adapted from “Praying the Names of Jesus” by Ann Spangler, with permission. Each day for five weeks, learn to better understand the nature and character of Jesus through his many names. Did you miss any entries? Stay subscribed to this feed and you’ll receive the entries you missed once the feed restarts.

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