“When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.”
Question To Ponder: Do you ever wish God would guide you like did the wise men? Well, remember this: God has given us His Word, His Holy Spirit and His people to show us the way. And they are always available to us.
“But the angel said to them ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people’.”
That small band of shepherds on a hill near Bethlehem set a wonderful example for us believers today. Think of it: the angel told them of the Messiah’s birth. They responded by going to see Him right away. Afterward, they couldn’t wait to spread the news about all they’d experienced. So, how quick are we to seek God out when we have the opportunity? How excited are we to share what he reveals to us?
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
In these days, when politics often causes such division between people, it’s a great comfort to be reminded that Jesus will one day rule over the whole earth. The names listed in this passage tell us what kind of ruler He’ll be: wonderful, mighty, everlasting. Another reason to celebrate the birth of God’s Son!
“…and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.”
When the Christmas rush starts to get too loud and busy for me, I know where to find a reset for my spirit. All I have to do is imagine the scene on that wondrous night in Bethlehem. I think of how Jesus arrived, not with fanfare, but in a quiet and lonely place. He and His parents probably only had the stars overhead and nearby animals for company. Yet this kind of birth was the fulfillment of prophesy – God’s Son would come to us as a baby. The humblest of beginnings, the richest of moments. Just thinking about it brings me back to a place of peace and joy.
“Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!“
2 Corinthians 9:15
When I was little, I judged the success of Christmas by how many presents were under the tree. I have to confess I did some of that as a parent of young children, too. But this holiday season is really meant to celebrate one gift – the coming of God’s Son. As I have changed my focus, Christmas has become much different, and richer, time.
“If you have no joy, there’s a leak in your Christianity somewhere.”
“For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”
“Joy is strength.”
“…the joy of the Lord is your strength.”
“For God is not a god of disorder but of peace.”
1st Corinthians 14:33
This time of year can get away from me pretty quickly. With all the decorating, shopping, card sending, etc, I often find myself at the center of a Christmas tornado, feeling scattered. Thankfully, there’s a way out of this condition – letting God be in charge of my schedule. He’ll provide times of quiet for me in the midst of busy days, and lead me to focus on him, not my to do list.
“You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.”
All of nature demonstrates God’s glory, whether a sunrise or a snowflake, a deer or a daffodil. Each part of God’s amazing creation is meant to lift up praise to Him. So, in a very real way, we are surrounded by worship. That thought makes my heart glad, and leads me to join my voice to the multitude.
“… the Lord blesses his people with peace.”
This time of year the word ‘peace’ brings the Nativity scene to my mind – as in, Sleep in Heavenly peace… But the peace God offers reaches far beyond one image. He desires for me to have peace with:
– Him (experiencing a restored relationship)
– Others (being reconciled, especially in the church family)
– Myself (accepting Who I Am, with honesty and humility)
– Circumstances (embracing the season or situation I’m in)
I’ve come to crave this kind of peace. But I can’t create it on my own. Thankfully, God is more than able to bless me – all of us – with it anytime.