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Sports Spectrum Daily Devotional: Tuesday, December 10

“Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and will call Him Immanuel.” — Isaiah 7:14

Before Bethlehem

Talent is important for athletic performance, but preparation for the game or match may be more important than any other aspect of game-time execution.

As we shift to the Christmas season, many people are getting ready. In cities and towns, we see Christmas decorations along streets. Some yards and homes light up at night with the outlines of reindeer, Santa Claus and manger scenes. Stores are crowded with shoppers. Christmas trees are filling up living rooms. Some radio stations are playing Christmas music around the clock. Churches and schools are planning plays, concerts and other activities. Even though it’s not Christmas Day yet, many things are happening before the big day.

Before Jesus was born in Bethlehem, God set the stage for the main event. The Lord expressed love for us before we were born by designing the salvation plan for all kinds of people in every place. The Lord told Abraham that one of his descendants would be the hope of the world (Genesis 12:3). God delivered the good news long before Jesus’ birth (Galatians 3:8).

Then the prophet Micah foretold the place of Christ’s birth: “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2).

Therefore, the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. At the time of Christ’s birth, Simeon and Anna rejoiced in Christ’s birth because they knew the Old Testament predicted that the Christ, the Anointed One, would be born in Bethlehem. So Jesus was born in a small town and also raised up in a little town called Nazareth. This small-town boy grew up to live, die and rise for us and to do mighty miracles.

In the Book of Isaiah, we learn about the miraculous birth of Christ about 700 years before He came into the world: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and will call Him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). When Jesus was born, the Gospels explain the Old Testament: “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: ‘The virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and they will call Him Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’)” (Matthew 1:22-23).

— Bill Kent, Pastor of Memorial Baptist Church, Sylvania, Ga.

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