postheadericon Twelve Days of Christmas - Day 12


"The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things
they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told."
- Luke 2:20

It's finally here! The day that the season of Advent has been preparing us for is here. Today is the day that we celebrate Christ's birth. I feel a bit like a broken record, but it really all did begin in the manger. It all centers on this tiny, little baby. During communion at church tonight, I listened to the piano softly hum out the melody to "Away in a Manger." The thoughts of Jesus as a baby flooded my thoughts.

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed
The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head
The stars in the sky looked down where He lay
The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay

The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes
But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes
I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray
Bless all the dear children in thy tender care
And take us to haven to live with Thee there

After the shepherds saw the greatest gift they could ever be given, they returned to their everyday, walking around, normal lives. But things weren't normal. They praised God and gave all Glory to Him for what they had seen and heard. Can we do the same?

Tomorrow in Christmas, and then the day after that is December 26th. Will we remember to give God the glory in all things? We live in a mess. It's a crazy, messy disaster, this thing called life.We get sick, we mess up, and sadly, really crappy things even happen sometimes. But in the middle of our chaotic life, a baby came. That baby brought with Him something far greater than anything else. He brought hope. And that hope means something because of the mess. Sometimes it takes a while, but we can cling to the rock that is hope in Christ Jesus.

"We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure."
- Hebrews 6:19a

My prayer for everyone this Christmas is that you know Jesus and that you have found hope in Him. Nothing is impossible with God and because of that, we can pray boldly and hope greatly. And with that, I'm going to call it a day. Thank you all for reading this Advent season. I'm going to take a few days off, but stay tuned to see what I have coming next. And with that... Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!
 

postheadericon Twelve Days of Christmas - Day 11


"But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."
- Luke 2:19

Today was pretty much the best day ever. My friends, Jason & Carrie, had their baby boy very early this morning. Baby Dexter entered the world right on schedule at 12:14am. Only we thought his due date was 12-14, not 12-22. Anyway, I got to go meet this little man this afternoon and I was in complete awe.

As I held him, I couldn't help but think about Mary holding baby Jesus. As Dexter made cute little noises, I wondered if Jesus did the same thing. As I felt his tiny feet kick against my hands, I pictured Jesus doing the same thing to Mary.

It's hard to imagine that the King of Kings was ever so tiny; so vulnerable. I looked at Dexter's tiny eyes and ears and nose and mouth and thought of Jesus. I rubbed his super soft head of hair and pictured our Lord. I am so thrilled to have this reminder of what it must have been like when Jesus was born. How Mary and Joseph must have felt. My friends say it still feels surreal. Do you suppose it felt that way to Mary and Joseph, too?

And here we learn that Mary treasured up all the things happening around her and pondered them in her heart. She was grateful. She was soaking it in. Much like how I felt today. Soaking in everything about this tiny, vulnerable life I held in my arms. This baby who doesn't even know me yet. This baby whose warmth radiated. This baby who brought me so much joy. This baby who somehow made me instantly fall head-over-heels in love.

Soak in all that's happening around you. Think about what God is teaching you. Store them in your heart. Christmas is almost here, prepare your heart for all that is to come.
 

postheadericon Twelve Days of Christmas - Day 10


"When they had seen him, they spread the word
concerning what had been told them about this child,
and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them."
- Luke 2:17-18

How different would our lives be if we had seen baby Jesus with our own eyes? Would it be easier to tell people about His birth; the real meaning of Christmas? Would we be like the shepherds out spreading the word about the birth of Christ?

This story from the beginning of Jesus' life makes me think of one from the end of His life on earth. The story of "Doubting" Thomas.

"Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve,
was not with the disciples when Jesus came.
So the other disciples told him,
'We have seen the Lord!'
But he said to them,
'Unless I see the nail marks in his hands
and put my finger where the nails were,
and put my hand into his side,
I will not believe.'
A week later his disciples were in the house again,
and Thomas was with them.
Though the doors were locked,
Jesus came and stood among them and said,
'Peace be with you!'
Then he said to Thomas,
'Put your finger here; see my hands.
Reach out your hand and put it into my side.
Stop doubting and believe.'
Thomas said to him, 'My Lord and my God!'
Then Jesus said to him,
'Because you have seen me,
you have believed;
blessed are those who have not seen
and yet have believed.'"
- John 20:24-29

Thomas, like the shepherds, were able to see Jesus. They all had a first-hand experience with the King of Kings. We are not so lucky. However, we are the blessed that Jesus talks about. We are the ones who have not seen Him in the earthly sense. But we still believe.

Believe.

A word that is used a lot at Christmastime. A word that holds an immense amount of meaning. And it reminds me of one of my favorite Christmas movies, Miracle on 34th Street.

In the movie, Kris Kringle says this:

"I'm a symbol of the human ability to be able to suppress
the selfish and hateful tendencies that rule the major part of our lives.
If you can't believe, if you can't accept anything on faith,
then you're doomed to live a life dominated by doubt."

Believe. Have faith.

"For we live by faith, not by sight."
- 2 Corinthians 5:7

We didn't see Jesus in that manger, but that doesn't mean we can't do just what the shepherds did and spread the word about this child. This man. This savior.

Down in a lowly manger
Our humble Christ was born
And God sent us salvation
That blessed Christmas morn
Go, Tell it on the mountain
Over the hills and everywhere
Go, Tell it on the mountain
That Jesus Christ is born