[December 3, 2023]

Heartland Community Church

The Star of Christmas: Reflections for Advent

It’s easy to be just a little self-centered at Christmas. Looking at the peripheral characters in the Christmas story highlights this tendency. While the star in the sky shone brightly above the babe in a manger, more than a few cast members imagined they were the “main character” of the moment. In this four-week Advent reading plan, we’ll look at the Magi, Joseph, the Innkeeper, and Caesar’s administrators and learn ways to avoid the trap of spotlighting ourselves in the celebration of the King. 

Advent Week 1: The Worship of the Magi

By Chris Woodward

Sunday, December 3, Day 1
Matthew 2:1-9

In Matthew’s gospel, the first people who come to see the baby Jesus are Magi from the East. We don’t know a lot about these people – how many there were, where they came from, or their religious background. All we know is they saw a star, a new star that often represented the birth of a king. So compelled by the star, they tracked and followed it to find this newborn king’s identity. But instead of being led to a royal palace, they follow the star to the baby born in the animal pen to two young nobodies.

The Magi show us how Earth receives her King. Nature hung the star in the sky, which the Magi recognized as pointing to the true “Star” of history, Jesus. And when they beheld the baby king’s face, they gave him worship, honor, and praise. What an example they leave to us to honor the “Star” of Christmas, Jesus the King. How are you keeping Jesus at the center of Christmas this year?

Monday, December 4, Day 2
Psalm 19:1-4

If you’ve ever laid on the ground in the pitch black dark and looked up at the stars on a clear day, it’s hard not to be in awe. When we look up, we easily sense the might and majesty of God, and often we feel appropriately small. Given these dynamics, can you imagine how the Magi felt when their guiding star led them to the infant king? Psalm 19:3-4 refers to creation but could easily apply to Jesus. The child they beheld had no speech, but one day, his word would instruct the world, and his home would be built in the heavens.

Tuesday, December 5, Day 3
Luke 1:78-79, 2 Peter 1:19

One of the names of Jesus is the bright Morning Star, which rings through the prophecies and prophets. One of these prophecies came from the mouth of Jesus’ uncle, the priest Zechariah, who said that the coming of this child was like the rising of the sun, bursting light upon a beleaguered civilization. He is the Star that will rise in our hearts and give hope and peace to our days. These are the gifts of the Star, the message of hope for tomorrow, and the promise of peace on earth today.

Wednesday, December 6, Day 4
Matthew 2:9-12

The Magi followed the star and were overjoyed when it brought them to Jesus – all they had been anticipating. They bowed down, worshipped him, opened their treasures, and presented Jesus with gifts. We give gifts today at Christmas in this tradition. Still, we often miss being overjoyed at discovering Jesus, following the star, the spotlight lighting the stage for the star of the show – the most important gift given to humankind. 

Thursday, December 7, Day 5
Numbers 24:17, 19

So much attention of our season is put upon giving gifts to one another. The anticipation for a child – and the pressure for a parent to deliver – is unbearable. Yet the true Star of Christmas captivated the attention of history for centuries and generations. As we anticipate the day of Christmas arriving, we sense to a small degree the preparations of history awaiting a ruler out of Jacob. Today, we behold him, and he indeed is near.

Friday, December 8, Day 6
Hebrews 11:1-3

By faith we have confidence in things not seen. We cannot experience the first Christmas, but we can imagine it, and follow the Star of Christmas to connect with our Father in heaven, the God of the universe, who chooses to be present in our lives today. What does it look like to place Jesus at the center of your Christmas preparations?

Saturday, December 9, Day 7
Psalm 98

Christmas is coming! Joy to the world, the Lord is come; let earth receive her King! Psalm 98 is one of many Psalms that implore us to shout for joy and praise the Lord for all He has done for us. Our King, the creator of the universe, came to earth – and as the King, he reigns and does marvelous things!


This Journey Advent Reading plan is brought to you by the following contributors. Join us each week as we reflect on the coming of Jesus, the star of Christmas.

Writers: Chris Woodward and Molly Fisher

Creative Director: Dan Jacobsen

Editor: Lisa Zulke

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12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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