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Read Nehemiah 8:1–18

‘All the people came together as one in the square before the Water Gate. They told Ezra the teacher of the Law to bring out the Book of the Law of Moses, which the LORD had commanded for Israel.’ (v1)

Many people like to attend church services at Christmas time – these are often special times of gathering, with familiar carols and Bible readings. 

In the time of Nehemiah, after re-building the walls of Jerusalem was seen as an ideal time for the people to meet for worship – to give thanks to God who had brought them thus far. 

In chapter 8 of Nehemiah, we are given an insight into the elements of that gathering. 

It was a mixed assembly of people (v2), and as God’s Word was read, the people listened attentively (v3). It was a time of worship (v6), where God’s Word was also clearly explained (v8). 

The whole service was deeply moving, with expressions of weeping (v9), yet also joy (v10). Once the people understood the truth of God’s Word, their joy was complete, and they celebrated with feasting (v12).

It can be easy to become over familiar with the Christmas celebrations – perhaps speaking of the ‘usual’ family, carol or Christingle service. 

Yet as we gather this Christmas, whatever form this may take, may we too seek to gain a true understanding of why we are gathered. 

May the truths of God’s Word move us to such an extent that our Christmas celebrations take on a new meaning and purpose – making this year’s Christmas celebrations truly life-changing and memorable, reminding ourselves of the deep meaning of this wonderful season.


A PRAYER TO MAKE: ‘Lord, thank You for the many services and gatherings taking place this Christmas. May we truly grasp the depth and wonder of this season. Amen.’
AN ACTION TO TAKE: This Christmas, ask God to give you an even deeper insight into His purposes and love for you.
SCRIPTURE TO CONSIDER: 2 Kings 22:1–11; Neh. 1:1–11; Psalm 30:1–12; Luke 7:36–50
Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.