This year, I have spent more time working online than ever before. As a result, I am unplugging while on staycation over Christmas break. And taking Him up on His offer to help me rest & regain my rhythm while I do. See y’all next year!
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:29-30 MSG)
“If the God of the universe was born in a dirty, messy manger, there is no mess or brokenness in our lives that God is not willing to step into.
Whatever you’re going through, don’t forget that GOD CARES. Jesus is Emmanuel. God with us.”
Friend, may you come to see and experience that Jesus, this God with us, is always with us to lighten our loads, and love up on us right where we are at.And may you know that God is way bigger than Covid, and able to shine His light on all things, by our side no matter what season we may be walking in.
My favorite part of the Christmas story comes right after Jesus is born, wrapped up & lying in the manger.
“There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.” At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises: “Glory to God in the heavenly heights, Peace to all men and women on earth who please Him.” (Luke 2: 8-14)
Isn’t that amazing? God brought not only a bright light into the sky to herald Jesus’ birth, but sent an angel & angelic choir to common folk not intimately a part of this Story & invited them in to it! How that choir must have sounded and the light which must have eminated from it!
But here is the coolest part of the story to me in the next 4 verses…
“As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.” (Luke 2:15-18)
Not only did the shepherds get to see Jesus first hand, they couldn’t help but share the good news that Light has entered our world.
I am amazed at how God planned to reveal Himself not only to His people in Israel through prophetic words, but also to THE LOWLY •an engaged couple from Nazareth, one of the humblest towns in Israel, •the nearby shepherds the well respected to THE WELL RESPECTED •a priest and his barren wife And to THE OUTSIDERS •shining a light in the sky which drew in wise men from foreign lands, and caught the attention of the current king, also a foreigner, ruling Israel at the time.
Light comes for all to see, and never more so than when the Light of the World chose to be born at Christmas!
The brightest star in the night sky leading up to Jesus’s birth was the Star of Bethlehem, as it is now referred to. It showed up as an announcement in the skies to Herald the arrival of a new King.
And the people the Bible noted whose attention it caught? “Wise” men from a far off land.
What strikes me the most about this part of the Christmas story is how they would have put tons of effort into understanding what the star meant, and then the preparations to follow the star to its resting place, ultimately over Bethlehem. They would have used every tool at their disposal to discover its meaning, but it only took one to become curious to start along this path.
It only does take a spark to get a fire started, and the same goes for following the Light when it catches your eye, and heart.
We are fortunate to be on the other side of this story, and know how it ends. But imagine the excitement of the wise men as they began their journey to find the newborn King.
May that thrill of hope stir within each of us as we continue our journey to Christmas this season.
Yesterday, I left off chatting about how the Light was about to enter the world after a 400 year period of silence.
I don’t know about you, but silence for that long from the God you serve would be very depressing, which is a form of darkness I occasionally have battled over the years.
Why so long may be the question you too are asking yourself, but when I look at the Bible, things become a bit more clear.
Sometimes a separation makes the heart grow fonder or long more for the one you are not with. And sometimes the distance makes the return that much grander and sweeter.
If I had been in the dark for a long period, then heard that a Light overhead was pronouncing a mighty king would arrive? I would grow excited and look for his coming with anticipation of good things yet to come.
John gives us hints as to why the Light came in the following verses, which give me a great deal of comfort on darker days:
“The true Light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, yet the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him. But to all who did receive Him, who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:9-14)
The Light came to show us His glory up close. To show us that God cares enough about us to become one of us, and meet us face to face.
I don’t know about you, but that truth, that kind of love, warms my heart and makes this season of Christmas shine all the brighter this year.
May you too see the Light this Christmas!
PS. Will share about the Christmas Star tomorrow, and my favorite light in the Christmas story on Thursday!
I have always loved light, but it’s never more appreciated than when I am in the dark.
Maybe you too can relate. Are you feeling like this season of pandemic upheaval is making your holidays appear less bright than usual? Are you feeling blue with the time change and the fact it is now dark before supper? Are you feeling like a sardine living & working close to others all the time now that you are in lock down again?
One of the lines which I love most in the Bible occurred in Genesis…
“Let there be light.”
And the light entered the world, and has blessed us all with sunshine, moonlight & the twinkling of stars ever since.
At the end of the Old Testament, there were 400 years of silence where it appeared God was nowhere to be found. A dark period for His people.
And then a great light appeared in the heavens to announce to the world that a King unlike any other was about to be born.
In these tumultuous times, I find it extra important to listen to songs which soothe and bless. This song has become an international hit, in part for that very reason.
May it bless you with the blessing of our loving God and usher you into His embrace each and every time you hear it!
“The Lord bless you & keep you. Make His face shine upon you & be gracious to you. The Lord turn His face toward you & give you peace.
Amen, amen, amen. Amen, amen, amen.
May His favor be upon you & a thousand generations, & your family & your children, & their children, & their children. X2
May His presence go before you & behind you, & beside you. All around you, & within you, He is with you, He is with you. In the morning, in the evening, in your coming, & your going; in your weeping & rejoicing, He is for you, He is for you.
He is for you, He is for you. He is for you, He is for you. He is for you, He is for you!
Amen, amen, amen. Amen, amen, amen!”
THE BLESSING by @karijobe @codycarnes @elevationworship