December 15 (Luke 1:3-4)
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. (NLT)
Advent and Christmas are seasons of investigation and robust analysis. They are times when we set aside our emotions and do the hard work of study. We explore, dig deep, question, and then dig even deeper. “Uh, hold on a minute,” you say. “You’ve got that wrong. This is the time of year for warm feelings, the joy of family and friends, and the wonder-filled story of a baby in a manger.” You, of course, are not wrong, but if that is all this season is to you, then you will be left with nothing but warm feelings that quickly cool, joy that fades with the memories of celebrations, and a story that is just that, a story and nothing more.
God created us with hearts to feel, and therefore our feelings are important. He gave us a spirit with which to understand spiritual things and to hear from Him. But He also gave us minds, and Luke acknowledges that when he begins his gospel for his friend Theophilus. He acknowledges that the Christian faith is something that is taught in addition to being felt and he knows that what is taught must be true or it is at best a waste of time and at worst outright deception and fraud. So, what does he do? He investigates the sources and carefully presents an accurate account of the life of Jesus.
This is actually the best time of year for you to do the same. You may have some time off from work or some vacation time in which to get away and relax. Use that time to dig deeply into the Bible. You don’t have to be a scholar exploring manuscripts in the original languages. In the case of Luke, he has already done that kind of work for you. Instead, read the Bible itself. Read it slowly and carefully. Ask questions of it. Share them with God and let Him lead you into all truth.
Father, thank You for giving us the Bible and continuing to speak to us through it. So many of its stories have become so familiar to me that I almost take them for granted. Help me to see them anew and for what they are, the accurate account of Your creation and Your relationship with it. May the Holy Spirit guide me into what is true, and may that always lead me to greater praise and service to You in the name of Jesus, my Lord and Savior. Amen.