Christmastime! For me, no matter what the year had brought or what the circumstances may have been, the songs of Christmas brought renewal and anticipation. “O Holy Night” … “Silent Night, Holy Night” … They are reminders of the “holy one” which the angel foretold of to Mary, this baby who grew to show us the way and to bring us hope (*Luke 1:35).
Holy, special, set apart, belonging to God. The words and songs bring to heart and mind the mystery and awe of God and of coming before Him in worship and praise. Can you imagine it? Can you see and hear the story unfolding on that holy night?!
And the angels rejoiced at the birth of His Son to a world so in need of him. Like the shepherds drawn to the stable and the wise men who came from distant lands, we are drawn to that baby, Jesus. The light of that star is the light we too seek.
O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining. It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth… Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we, Let all within us praise His holy name.
The holiness of God. The holiness of that night. The holiness of infant Jesus, God’s Son, Emmanuel (*Matthew 1:23). When the world is dark and cold. Emmanuel. When the sun rises fresh and bright. Emmanuel. When we miss loved ones. Emmanuel. When the lights of Christmas shine. Emmanuel…
I am thankful for that holy infant Jesus, who came to us on a dark night. When I struggle with doubts and fears or am feeling worn or alone or afraid, the events of Jesus’ birth are welcome reminders of God’s holiness and presence. When joy and happiness surround me from family and friends and awesome new life, the Christmas story draws me into the life of that other family so long ago.
May the light of that star and the events of that story draw you too to our holy God and bring you comfort and peace. —————
Luke 1:35 The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. NIV
Matthew 1:23 “Look, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,” which means, “God is with us.” NRSV
• Starshine inspires awe and wonder • Imagination leads to inspiration and discovery • Discovering what forms the whole leads to greater understanding • Coldness and distance are a matter of perspective • Light can seem distant when we are in a dark tunnel • We often crave guidance and assurance of our way • Having a reference point helps determine our position • Argument is a heat that burns deeply • A positive personality brightens those around them • Gaze into the clear night sky and feel your worries recede • The vastness of the heavens is a small taste of eternity • Our Creator knows every star by name
Please leave a message… Message me… Our phone rings or lights up; our computer chimes. Flash, blink, music, or buzz.
In our world today, messages have never been easier to send, or to receive. Text messages, emails, and audio-video chats and messages are now the norm for communication. The word “message” itself has become a common verb.
Many of us battle overflowing emails addresses or have given up to overwhelm… either watching them pile up or deleting all indiscriminately. The deluge of information, requests, and offers may lead to “brain freeze” when it comes to discerning what is needed, important, or positive.
So, when we come to those times when our world slows or stills, that spinning churning chaos which has become such a part of our daily lives may need time to slow as well! It’s like stepping into a brightly lit room from a darkened hallway. We blink, breath, and refocus. Our brains gain time and space for deeper reflection.
Whether a slow down time or a shift in normal routine is a result of conscious decision or thrust upon us unexpectedly, it presents a good opportunity. I am thankful for moments where I am able to better see and to receive the positive. Despite the stresses around me, it is like a pocket of calm in the tumble of activity.
I am reminded of Paul in the book of Acts as he stood before King Agrippa. He shared his story of meeting Jesus on the road to Damascus and reminded Agrippa of the words of the prophets and Moses, that the Messiah would suffer, would rise from the dead, and would bring the message of light to all people. * What a gift that message of light is! Just as we enter into a brightly lit room and pause to blink and refocus in order to better see what that light reveals around us… so do our times of reflection and thought allow us to settle closer to God, to receive His reassurance, presence, and peace… and to think of the great price He paid for it and the great love He has for us.
The people living in darkness have seen a great light! **
My prayer for us this week is that we would draw close to God, take notice of that incoming message of light, and be strengthened and comforted to meet the days ahead.
“Do you want to see my treasure box?!” exclaimed the young child proudly. Eager hands removed the top and began to tell the stories of things they held dear. There was the dried flower, especially picked for mom, and a sparkly stone shining all colors of the rainbow in the sunshine. There’s my heart, drawn and colored with “I love you” carefully written in crayon. Here’s a family photo and a chew toy of a much-loved pet now gone…
As a child, I had my own treasure box too, filled with small cherished items that brought happy memories as well as some sadder ones of loved ones now gone. The thought comes to me that now my home is like a treasure box, full of memories and of current life.
The wise men brought their treasure chests too and offered gifts for a king, the baby Jesus. Jesus’ mother, Mary, treasured the words the shepherds shared, and she treasured what she saw and heard in her growing son.
I think of the things I treasure now and how those things we value grow and change with us. Have you ever kept something, only to pull it back out weeks or years later and think, “Why in the world did I keep this?!”
I think of how God wants us to treasure His words, His wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. Life is truly a journey to do just that and to share it with others! Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, said that God “has shone in our hearts to give…” He went on to say that “we have this treasure in clay jars” so that others will clearly see that “this extraordinary power belongs to God and does not come from us.” Always, we point to Christ Jesus, to God who is our greatest treasure.
My prayer for us is that as we pull out our own treasure box, we will consider what is in it and what is of true and lasting value. That we will see in our everydayness, or plain clay jars, the treasure we are to God and the gifts He gives us. That we will offer to the King all that we have, and so give freely and fully. I know for myself that it’s easier to do this some days than others. May we join in the adventure.
*Luke 2:16-19, 51; Matthew 2:11, 2 Corinthians 4:7