What are you preparing for this Christmas season as others deck their halls, and light up their trees? As they shop for presents and look forward to time with loved ones?
What are you preparing for this Christmas season, as the Salvation Army bell ringers say cheerful “Merry Christmas” and offer opportunities to share, to give to the needy? As gifts are wrapped and cards are addressed and mailed?
What are you preparing for this Christmas season? The familiar ache of loneliness? The pain of the anniversary of the death of a loved one, a marriage, a dream?
Whatever hard thing you are preparing yourself for the best you know how, know this – The God of all comfort has also made preparation for you. There is a Balm in Gilead. He is near to the broken hearted and heals those who are crushed in spirit. He keeps your tears. He has numbered the hairs on your head. He knows you are hurting more than you can describe or even believe you can bear. He is ever present and calls you to the shelter of His arms, the healing virtue of His presence. He is with you always and will walk you through this season as He has every other one.
*This post is from the Archives of this blog. It was originally posted as part of Five Minute Friday in December 2014 and reposted in December 2015. Given the overwhelming grief, pain, loss, etc. of 2020, the truth of God’s abiding presence and comfort bears repeating, as does the truth that He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
“And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being” Genesis 2:7, NKJV). Breath. The difference between life and death.
When in a resting state, an adult takes 12 to 20 breaths per minute. Sometimes, however, even when we are breathing normally physically, life experiences, like a blow to the solar plexus, leave us struggling to catch our breath emotionally and mentally. To be in such a place during the Advent season when many are caught up in preparations for Christmas, can exacerbate the struggle to breathe. There is only One who can restore our breath. The same One who “breathed the breath of life” into Adam. This is a promise of Emmanuel, “God with us.” He is with us to heal us and restore what we need to live again.
I noticed the airplane as it headed in the direction of the airport near my workplace. It’s size, weight, and capacity were unchanged from the moment it left the airstrip of an airport that was its departure point, to the moment I noticed it flying above. But against the expanse of the sky, the airplane resembled a child’s toy. Context alters perspective.
This Advent season as we prepare our hearts to celebrate the birth of our Savior, each day moving us closer to December 25th, I wonder, what is the context for my life? What is the context of your life? Against what backdrop am I, are you viewing that circumstance which is a source of anguish? The unanswered prayer? Our deepest longing? Your greatest joy? The event that fills you with anticipation? Or dread? Context gives perspective.
The world waits for a miracle The heart longs for a little bit of hope Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel A child prays for peace on Earth And she’s calling out from a sea of hurt Oh come, oh come, Emmanuel
The lyrics above are from the song, “Light of The World,” by Lauren Daigle, Paul Duncan, and Paul Mabury. May you be encouraged as you listen, even if you have heard the song before. May we find comfort in the truth that because of Jesus, the Light of the World, we are never without hope. May we set our hope in God (Psalm 78:7, NKJV).
It is Christmas Eve. What does a verse about the genealogy of Jesus have to do with Christmas Eve and what does it have to do with love? Everything. Centuries passed after Adam and Eve believed the Serpent’s lie that God was lying to and defrauding them, and they made the choice to disobey Him. Centuries passed after He told them the consequences of their sin and He told the Serpent the consequences of his deception.
“And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15, NKJV)
Centuries passed from that moment to the time that the angel Gabriel spoke God’s words to Zechariah and to Mary and to Joseph. And Joseph and Mary travelled to Bethlehem. And “the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn” (Luke 2:1-7, NKJV). And an angel said to the terrified shepherds, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger” (Luke 2: 8-12, NKJV). Centuries passed and God kept loving us and kept executing His plan of redemption through generations of men until His plan of redemption was fully accomplished. It is Christmas Eve. What does a verse about the genealogy of Jesus have to do with Christmas Eve and what does it have to do with love? Everything.
May you awake on Christmas Day full of anticipation and gratitude for God’s incomprehensible love for us. For you. Merry Christmas.
Ancient of Days. Jehovah Shalom. Father. May our faith (our abiding trust in You and Your promises) be constant, our hope (confident expectation of eternal salvation) be unwavering, and our love (unselfish love for others, growing out of Your love for us) be deeply rooted and maturing. Thank You for Your love.
What shall we say about such wonderful things as these? If God is for us, who can ever be against us? Since he did not spare even his own Son but gave him up for us all, won’t he also give us everything else? Who dares accuse us whom God has chosen for his own? No one—for God himself has given us right standing with himself. Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us.
Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep. No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us.
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:31-39, NLT).
Creator. Ancient of Days. Father. There is so much in life that is uncertain. Thank You that one of the things we can be absolutely sure of is, “Nothing can separate us from You love.” Thank You for Your love and for this assurance that we have in You.
El Elyon. El Channun (Gracious God). Father. Thank You for reminding us through this verse that the true proof of Your love for us is what You did to redeem us, not our circumstances. Help us love as You love us.
Adonai. El Shaddai. Father. You have lavished Your love on us. That You have done so because You chose to and adopted us into Your family, is beyond our understanding. Our true identity is found in You and this truth is the antidote to insecurity and despair. We are Your children and You are the Good Father. Thank You.
Almighty God. Omnipresent One. Father. Thank You that we do not have to earn Your love because we never can. Thank You for loving us and sending Jesus as the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Thank You, Father. Thank You.