With Christmas only a few days away, the emotions are building, the memories invading, and the anticipation fluctuating somewhere between tentative dread and utter delight.
What will Christmas be like this year?
Will extended family all be standing on the porch for the Christmas dinner gathering when a positive C-test sends everyone home (this happened to us in 2021)? Or, (as a single man just confided in me) will you scramble to find an open restaurant for your solo Christmas Dinner because your stand-by “Hometown Buffet” just closed? Will you spend the entire holiday weekend stranded in an airport; cooped up in quarantine; or in silent distress whilst surrounded by jovial people who don’t truly see you? Will you embrace the music, the silence, and the wonder, even if there’s a new empty space at the table?
Oh, my friend, I just wanted to remind you that the Christchild will break through any obstacle to get to you this Christmas and bring His Gift of Love. But hold on, because it will happen in His way and His time.
In a year in which I longed for a caring shepherd, it is no surprise that God has used the Bethlehem shepherds’ story to touch my heart this Christmas. They seem so ORDINARY – nothing special, even considered outcasts on the fringe of Jewish society. There was no logical reason God would call them to witness a world-changing event. Kind of like how you and I feel sometimes – unworthy, forgotten. But it was these laborers to whom God sent the OPPORTUNITY of a lifetime when a host of angels appeared to them and said the most amazing words – that the Messiah, a Savior, “has been born to you!” At long last, Someone had seen them and offered the gift of peace. Remarkably, these shepherds did not argue or hesitate but they chose to be OBEDIENT and quite literally “hurried” to the manger to see for themselves. Obedience costs us (don’t ask me how I know) but it is the only path for the wholehearted. As they witnessed and worshipped in that smelly stall, everyone present was transformed. Unable to keep it to themselves, these once-reticent shepherds became OUTSPOKEN — telling everyone what they had seen and heard, and forever praising God.
- ORDINARY – God came for you and me, just as we are, wherever we are.
- OPPORTUNITY – He sends people, circumstances, comfort, guidance, and sometimes even singing angels…
- OBEDIENT – …but we must respond in faith and courage in order to grasp the blessing;
- OUTSPOKEN – And now, we share our story – the hard, the helpful, the hopeful – with others.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace.” Luke 2:8-14
Blessing to Hold on to Good News of Great Joy
If you find yourself
on a bitterly cold and dark night,
amidst too many bleating sheep,
feeling insignificant and alone,
May you know that God sees you.
Despite your lowly laboring,
you are the one God chose
to hear His good news,
to come and see. Even now
He sends throngs of messengers
to herald the birth of all things new.
May you lift your eyes to the sky
and behold a great Light.
May you hear the angels sing
to banish all your fears.
May your feet begin the journey
that winds through manger to cross.
God remembered you, dear one.
A baby’s cry is your call to action.
May you hasten your journey,
singing each step of the way
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace.”~ Lucinda Secrest McDowell
from my 2023 blessings book by Christian Art Gifts publisher.
Christmas Blessings from Lucinda and family
“Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength”
©2022 Lucinda Secrest McDowell www.LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com
Lucinda Secrest McDowell is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” A graduate of Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary, she has authored 16 books including “Soul Strong – 7 Keys to a Vibrant Life” , “Life-Giving Choices – 60 Days to What Matters Most,” “God’s Purpose for You,” and “The Courage to Write.” (Purchasing my books here benefits me as an Amazon associate.) She writes from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and shares encouraging words weekly at LucindaSecrestMcDowell.com