Journey to Bethlehem: December 13 - Word&Way

Journey to Bethlehem: December 13

Growing Up in the Journey

Today's Scripture: Acts 8:27-40

There is not a greater time of the year than Christmas. I’ve always felt this way and so has my wife. The Brown house has one basic rule about decorating: The sooner the garland, lights and trees are up, the better! Now that I am a dad of three young ones, I love Christmas even more.

Jeff Brown is director of campus ministries at Hannibal La-Grange University in Bolivar, Mo.

However, my reasons for loving this festive holiday have changed some. I guess you could say I’ve grown up — somewhat!

In Acts 8:27-40, we see two men grow up before our very eyes. First, we have Philip, one of the first deacons of the church. He grows in confidence, in experience and in closeness to the Savior through proclaiming the gospel. It is amazing how much one can mature after being led by an angel and spoken to personally by the Spirit!

But the greater maturing comes for the Ethiopian who was fortunate enough to be reading Isaiah’s prophecy about Christ when a deacon showed up, running alongside the chariot. That man found not only the literary answer to his question, but an eternal one as well. He rode off that day a different human being, re-birthed and redefined.

What about you and me? I remember a Christmas in which I changed —the year I began to receive more joy out of buying and giving presents to my mom and receiving them from her. I grew up a lot, learning many literal and spiritual truths. I took great joy that Christmas in telling my mom that I was content with what I had. Of course, my declaration of gift-independence did not stop her from buying me presents as an expression of her love. However, it did give her a glimpse of the journey of my maturity as a man, but more profoundly, as a man of God.

That journey continues. I wait for that day when my kids tell me that their Christmas list is relatively blank and that their needs have already been met! In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the journey!