In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
When I think of my Christmas story, I am not usually terrified as the scripture describes the shepherds. Sometimes I think... busy... exhausted... often homesick... usually broke... followed then with frustrated... sometimes peaceful, occasionally inspired... frequently overindulgent (food, drink, toys)... but never terrified that I can remember.
Last night I saw a picture of my two little nieces who live in Alaska, the older one smiling cheekily, the younger one screaming in sheer terror, sitting on the lap of that modern day Christmas angel, the department store Santa Claus. I studied the precious little girl's face, one I only know from photos, because she was born just after her daddy was stationed up in Kodiak two years ago. I recognized the terror in her eyes as like that of the group of shepherds who were just watching their sheep, when something unexpected, and frankly unwanted occurred in their lives. This intrusion of the eternal into our day-to-day lives; when God comes to walk among us as one of us, nothing is ever the same again. But we seem to be so terrified that we just can't hear the good news: Don't be afraid! For unto us is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
Yet and still, maybe we should be terrified, just a bit. Like every mama and daddy of a newborn baby knows, life will never be the same. And when God gets right here with us, and tells us the real truth, we better be ready for our lives to be turned upside down. For this Christmas, and every day, our challenge is to not be afraid, to seek the baby in Bethlehem, to know him, accept him, to learn to let him lead us, and follow him all the way to the cross.
JESUS, LORD, TEACH ME, LEAD ME, LOVE ME. SHOW ME THE WAY TO GROW INTO A MATURE ADULT CHRISTIAN, READY TO WALK ALL THE WAY FROM BETHLEHEM TO THE CROSS. ON THE JOURNEY, GUIDE ME FROM ANYTHING THAT IS NOT PLEASING TO YOU, AND MAKE ME OVER IN YOUR IMAGE. BRING YOUR PEACE INTO THE WORLD, AND MAY IT BE YOUR WILL TO LET IT BEGIN WITH ME. AMEN.
shared by Rose Anne
Never, when you are being put to the test, say, "God is tempting me;" God cannot be tempted by evil, and does not put anybody to the test.
I am like a lot of other people. I do not want to feel responsible when something does not go according to plan. I want to blame someone else, and if no one else is available, God will do. How very, very wrong. God does not test us. How wonderful to know that God loves us and wants the very best for us. How wonderful to be secure in this love, and know that in all times and circumstances, God is good!
DEAR GOD, FORGIVE ME FOR BLAMING YOU WHEN I SHOULD BE ONLY PRAISING YOU. I ASK YOU TO TEACH ME TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR MY OWN WRONG ACTIONS AND THOUGHTS. THANK YOU, FATHER, FOR KEEPING ME SAFE IN YOUR LOVING KINDNESS. IN JESUS' NAME I PRAY, AMEN.
Shared by Charlotte B
For once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light -- for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true.
Have you ever been in a cave? In a dark room without any light at all? The absence of light produces a darkness we seldom see as we are usually given light from indirect sources. Imagine coming out of a totally dark place into the light as initially a blinding experience. How many of us go through our lives "blinded by the light," covering our eyes from the high wattage of God's love. Yet we are called to walk as children of the light. To me this means we go forward in innocence and faith, not allowing our light in the love of God to be dimmed at all by the cares of the world or by the fears we carry with us. What a wonderful challenge!
OUR FATHER, YOU ALONE CAN GIVE THE LIGHT FOR US TO CARRY FORTH. HELP US FIND THE WAY TO WALK IN FAITH, AS YOUR CHILDREN, IN THE LIGHT OF YOUR LOVE. AMEN
shared by Nancy C., December 9
So he said, "I am, as Isaiah prophesied, 'A voice of one that cries out in the desert: Prepare a way for the Lord. Make his paths straight!'"
It was before Halloween this year when I first noticed the department stores setting out their Christmas decorations. I wondered how many hours would be spent by store clerks and mall employees preparing for this holiday we call Christmas. How many hours would be spent searching for the perfect gift, the right outfit, the exact ornament? And how many hours would be spent searching for the star in the heavens to guide our path, looking for the child, praying that we would recognize the savior when he appears? It is so clear to me that the world needs Christ. Christmas is big business, and we spin our wheels in the bustle of the holiday but do we find peace in the beauty of our celebration of that holy day? What would happen in our lives and the world if, this Christmas season, we spent as much time on our knees in prayerful preparation as we do on our feet in the shopping malls?
OH GREAT GOD, GUIDE US IN PREPARATION TO WELCOME JESUS,YOUR SON, INTO OUR HEARTS. AMEN.
from "A New Day in Christ" Daily devotional guide, shared by Charelle W.