Tuesday, November 29, 2016

26 Devotions Focusing on Christ in the Nativity Alphabet--Star in the East

Nativity Alphabet by Krista Hamrick


Krista Hamrick’s beautiful original art print, Nativity Alphabet, has so inspired me. Each of the 26 words in the Nativity Alphabet are so intricately painted, almost like stained glass windows. My heart has been drawn to write 26 Devotions Focusing on Christ in the Nativity Alphabet.




While pondering the words, “Star in the East,” I was inspired by listening to Star in the East, written in 1811, and sung by the Rose Ensemble, Brightest and best of the sons of the morning, dawn on our darkness and lend us thine aid. Star in the East, the horizon adorning, guide where our infant Redeemer was laid…



“Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.”…after hearing the king, they went their way; and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.



Pastor Ray Pritchard writes: “What was His star in the east? It helps to remember that the Wise Men (Magi) were students of the sky. That means they would not be frightened or put off by anything unusual that suddenly appeared to them. In those days it was not uncommon to associate the birth of a great ruler with unusual heavenly phenomena. The star—whatever it was—would make perfect sense to them and would in fact perfectly fit what they already believed. You might say that if God wanted to get a message to these pagan priests, he picked the perfect way. But what was the star? Frankly, we don’t know. The particular Greek word (aster) is a very general one that could refer to any bright object in the sky. It could refer to a star or a planet or a meteor or even to a comet. It could refer to some unusual conjunction of the planets that produced an extremely bright object in the skies. Or it may be that the “star” was a special heavenly light prepared by God to guide the Magi. As the Magi set out for Bethlehem, which was only six miles south of Jerusalem, the star they saw in the east suddenly reappears. They first saw it in the east, when they set out on their own for Jerusalem, and didn’t see it again until they left for Bethlehem. Verse 9 is very specific. It says the star went on before them until it came and stood over the very home where the baby Jesus was. That’s necessary because, although they know the child is in Bethlehem, they don’t know where in Bethlehem, so the star leads them to the right house. Somehow they knew it was “His” star and they were overjoyed when they saw it (Matthew 2:10).That does not sound like any natural star. It sounds like a miraculous star created by God to lead the Magi to a particular house. It led them to the very home where Mary and Joseph were taking care of the baby. That doesn’t sound like a comet or a meteor to me. It sounds more like a special light from God sent to direct the Magi to Jesus. No wonder they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. The end of their long, hard journey was at hand.”


The same wholehearted devotion that led these wise men to follow His star in the east until they found Jesus, was the same wholehearted devotion found in an 84 year-old prayer warrior named Anna from Luke 2:36-38  Anna, a prophet…was now eighty-four years old. She never left the Temple but stayed there day and night, worshiping God with fasting and prayer. She came along just as Simeon was talking with Mary and Joseph, and she began praising God. She talked about Jesus to everyone who had been waiting for the promised King to come and deliver Jerusalem.

Anna was wholehearted in her devotion, her worship, and her witness. For decades she had waited with hope. She worshiped the Lord with fasting and prayer. Though she was in one of the outer courtyards where women were allowed, not in the inner circle of priests, she was in the temple at the very hour and moment when the Christ child was dedicated. When she saw Jesus in the temple, she burst out with joy and praise, telling all who were waiting for the King about his coming. We may think our lives are much more distracted and divided than Anna’s, and we are not widows who live in the temple. Yet God calls us to Anna’s place of devotion as well. When our hearts are divided, we can yield them to him again and ask Him to help us and to draw us back to wholehearted devotion to Him. When we do, the Lord gives us His grace and enables us to center our lives in Him, just like Anna and the wise men who followed His star in the east.


Lord Jesus, I want to let go of my divided desires and be wholeheartedly devoted to You. Capture and renew my heart today. May I be like Anna, who waited joyfully for you her whole life. I may not yet see you with my physical eyes, like the wise men who followed Your star in the east, but let the eyes of my heart be awakened to see You and to rejoice in You today. You are worthy of all of my praise and adoration! In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.

Look Up—meditate on Luke 2:36-38… pray to see what it reveals about the character of God.

Look In
—as you meditate on Luke 2:36-38… pray to see how you might apply it to your life. Be propelled to ask galvanizing questions about your discoveries: "Because God is_________, I will_____________."

Look Out—as you meditate on Luke 2:36-38…pray to see how you might apply it to your relationships with others. Let the nature of God impact on every relationship, for your good, and for His glory.


* If you liked this post, you’ll love this book – 
Name Above All Names Devotional: Focusing on 26 Alphabetical Names of Christ



Weekly LinkUps…


2 comments:

  1. I loved seeing my friend Anna here. Her example of patience and faithful waiting reveals to me my own flibbertigibbit heart.

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    1. Michele, I LOVE that..."my friend Anna"...isn't it neat to think of these precious individuals as someone with whom we could sit down and talk? I also LOVE the adjective you chose for your own heart...had to look it up in Merriam-Webster..."Flibbertigibbet is one of many incarnations of the Middle English word flepergebet, meaning "gossip" or "chatterer." (Others include "flybbergybe," "flibber de' Jibb," and "flipperty-gibbet.") It is a word of onomatopoeic origin, created from sounds that were intended to represent meaningless chatter. Shakespeare apparently saw a devilish aspect to a gossipy chatterer; he used "flibbertigibbet" in King Lear as the name of a devil. This use never caught on, but the devilish connotation of the word reappeared over 200 years later when Sir Walter Scott used "Flibbertigibbet" as the nickname of an impish urchin in the novel Kenilworth. The impish meaning derived from Scott's character was short-lived and was laid to rest by the 19th-century's end, leaving us with only the "silly flighty person" meaning."

      Many blessings to you dear friend!

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