Every year on Christmas Eve my father would grab the family Bible, open it to the Gospel of Luke, and read the Christmas story to seven young children, wide-eyed and rapt with attention. Yes, it was a requirement before we were allowed to open our presents, but we couldn’t wait to hear the story and we hung on his every word.
Without the Gospel of Luke we wouldn’t know the details of the birth of Christ. We wouldn’t know about the characters involved in that birth and we certainly couldn’t look as deeply into the spiritual meaning of Jesus’ birth like we have throughout these Advent devotionals. And Luke himself tells us why he wrote what he did, “so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught.”
Why all these intimate details, and why do these facts come to us only via the pen of Luke? Luke, a physician, consistently provides more detailed physical descriptions than the other Gospel writers do. His training in observation and accurate diagnosis evidently led to greater interest in and closer attention to physical details. So, as you revisit the Christmas story this year through a sermon, Sunday School lesson, play, or Christmas carol, think about the fact that without Luke, these presentations would be considerably shorter – and a whole lot more boring! Only Luke draws back the curtain and allows us a look into the delivery room to watch as “the Word became flesh and dwelled among us” (John 1:14). What a difference just one person can make! This Christmas season, give thanks yet again for the Creator God who took on the form of a baby in a manger. This year, however, perhaps stop to also give thanks for the contribution of the Gospel of Luke and its author. Without Luke, we would not have the story of the actual birth of Jesus that means so much to all of us. Remember: it is only Luke that Linus quotes when he stands under the spotlight, blanket in hand, to tell us about the real meaning of the season in A Charlie Brown Christmas. Maybe we could take time to consider the similarities between Luke and ourselves: like Luke, most of us are not Jewish, not born in Israel, not among Jesus’ first disciples, and not trained as theologians. Yet also like Luke, because of our own unique background and relationship with Him, God is able to use us to convey the good news of Jesus’ rescue mission in a way that no one else can. This Christmas, let’s agree to appreciate the unique “presence” God has given to us, and to be willing to share some of His “presence” with those who have none.
Like so many who have read Luke’s version of the Christmas story, there are people just waiting to hear your version of His story.
Look Up – Connect with God
Read: Luke 1:1; Luke 2:40
Key Verse: “Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write an accurate account for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught.” (Luke 1:3-4)
Pray: Thank you Lord God for choosing a medical doctor to be an author of one of the Gospels. We are so thankful for Luke – his years of professional training, his attention to detail, his willingness to use his skills to bless others, his obedience to be used by you in such a unique way to provide us such a unique look into the life of the Master. And thank you Lord for coming to earth as a baby to experience life as we do. We love you.
Look In – Family Memories
Discuss: What part of the Christmas story as told in Luke (or Matthew for that matter) is the most special to you and why? How do you think being a doctor changed the way Luke tells the story of Jesus?
Advent Cards: select a card and see what the activity might be (i.e., build a gingerbread house). Family Activities
Look Out – Connect with Others
Gather a variety of books telling the Christmas story to children and drop them off at your local children’s hospital, orphanage, or other organization focused on helping children in need.