[December 24, 2023]

Heartland Community Church

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. 


CLICK HERE to view the prerecorded Christmas message.

Advent Week 4: Rivalry of the Stars

By Molly Fisher

Sunday, December 24, Day 22
Luke 2:1-3

The birth of Jesus comes over and against the rules and decrees of the strongest ruler the world had yet to see: Caesar. With his words, the world is moving. With his administrator Quirinius at the helm, the execution of the world census was underway. Caesar was flexing his political power, but even more, he was measuring his world and worth (not to measure evaluating a tax raise).  

Even the way Luke records this moment makes Caesar the star of the news as the masses are en route to their hometowns to be counted. But little did Caesar, Quirinius, or Rome know: the Star of humanity, the ruler of rulers, the guarantor of peace, was also on the move, coming into the world with a different power source than ever seen before. 

Monday, December 25, Day 23
Isaiah 9:1-7

The authority of human rulers often causes distress for the ruled. But coming was the King of Kings who would rule with justice and kindness. A new era was promised to Israel, and it dawned smack in the middle of the era of Caesar. Jesus is inherently so much greater than the rulers of this world; the entire government can be placed on his shoulders, and he will lead with light and grace. What a promise for us, who need him to lead our lives today.    

Tuesday, December 26, Day 24
Luke 4:1-13

As the star of history, Jesus demonstrated his absolute authority over sin, death, and even temptations. As you read, consider how Jesus takes authority over the temptation in the desert. How can you use the word of God this week to avoid temptation in your situations?  

Wednesday, December 27, Day 25
Matthew 21:12-17

Jesus presents himself as an authority in driving out the money changers, overturning tables, and healing those who need it. Jesus challenged the “Religious Elite” and attempted to turn his father’s house back into a house of prayer. What things in your life need to be overturned and moved back to what they were meant for?  

Thursday, December 28, Day 26

John 11:25, 38-45 

Jesus shows absolute authority over death. Lazarus had been gone for three days, and now he walks and talks with his family again. His conversation with Martha sets the tone for the rest of his life. Take some time today and think about how you would react if a dead family member came back again at your table. What would you think of the power that brought that person back?  

Friday, December 22, Day 20

1 John 3:18-24 

Jesus versus my authority.  As I walk through life, my code of conduct has become, “I am as close to Christ as I allow myself to be.” Jesus never gives me a brush-off or a halfway answer; he is there all the time without fail, waiting for me to put down my phone, stop watching Sports Center, and pull myself away from work.  After reading the passage above, ask yourself, “Does your heart condemn you?”  Where is your heart today?   

Saturday, December 23, Day 21
Luke 23:13-24  

Jesus was again on trial, bounced from Caesar’s proxy, Pilate, back to Herod, back to Caesar, and then an appeal to the religious leaders of the day. Jesus, all the while, gives no answer for the charges and no defense for himself. The authority figures found no fault with him and turned him over to the crowd. This sinless man was sacrificed for the sin-stained world. Thus, all authority had been given to him on earth and in the heavens. Have you given him authority over your life? 


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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{extra journey resources}

CLICK HERE to visit The Bible Project site and explore their super simple, super informative Bible videos (and other resources). You can also download The Bible Project App HERE.

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CLICK HERE for more on how to use the observe-reflect-apply approach to getting the most out of your Bible reading.

The Bible App Get the free YouVersion Bible for your phone, tablet, or computer. Experience the Bible anywhere, with options to highlight, save notes, and share what you are reading with others.

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Bible Gateway Provides advanced Bible searching capabilities, which allow readers to find passages in scripture based on keywords, phrases, or scripture reference.

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12175 S Strang Line Road, Olathe, KS 66062

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