The Voice

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All your desire to encounter Christ is embraced, transformed by His desire to come towards you.”

There were announcements of Jesus’ coming birth to Joseph and Mary, and shepherds. But in the darkness of the Bethlehem stable, the most amazing announcement of all came directly from the swaddled newborn boy as He stirred and His cry broke the silence of that night. That baby’s cry was the voice of God Himself.

That cry shook the world of angels and demons. Eons ago, they had heard it break the silence as it called the world into being. They knew it as the voice that cast Satan and his angels out of heaven. That voice was now coming from a small bundle of humanity. Could it be? What power was contained in that cry! What foreshadowing of what would come in His life. What hope for the world, created perfectly, now fallen. God had not sent a prophet this time or a king or an angel. He had come Himself and the world would never be the same.

The voice of God still speaks today for those who will hear. As we sit before Him in worship and wonder, we listen, waiting to hear again the voice that broke the silence of that holy night. Then we hear it: His voice resounds in the deepest recesses of our heart through His Word and through His Spirit. Receive!

“Joy to the world, the Lord has come! Let earth receive her King!”

Quote taken from a Pray-as-You-Go meditation. Thanks to Deb Karish for posting the Christmas pageant photo from 1980!

 

 

Joy!

At the time of Jesus’ birth, an angel announced, “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.”

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“For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break into singing and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.” – Isaiah 55:12

That joy is for us, too! Have you found it? If so, you know it is not in the right gift under the tree, the perfect meal, or even the year-end bonus. These things delight for a time, but don’t give the deep-down, long-lasting, more-than-emotional, bubbling-over joy the angel was talking about.

The angel-announced joy was about an entirely new way of life that Jesus would bring – a life lived out moment-by-moment with Him. When we are in touch with our Creator, sensing His nudges, feeling His comfort, realizing His wisdom, and obeying His direction (even when it’s hard), there is joy.

True joy is recognizable by its awakening within us a desire for something that is beyond ordinary – maybe hearing music that sings to your soul, maybe in particular relationships, maybe in a resonating phrase or idea in a book you are reading, maybe in a neon sunset or a starry sky, maybe . . . what is it that makes your heart overflowingly happy?

Do you recognize God in your beyond-ordinary moments? He is there. We know authentic joy only because of relationship with the Eternal. Thank You, Jesus, for being the joy of Christmas and every day thereafter!

“Joy is God in the marrow of our bones.” – Eugenia Price

 

 

 

Pause for Peace

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“Sacred is the pause that draws us into stillness. Nourishing are the moments when we step away from busyness. Teach us the wisdom of pausing. Reveal to us the goodness of stopping to breathe.” Macrina Wiederkahr

We are now in busiest, most pressured time of the year for most of us.

Knowing that, let’s think about how we might find ways to pause, to reconnect with our Creator, and to breathe in the peace the angels promised (and we so often miss!) on that first Christmas day.

Many of us begin our day in a devotional connection with God, but a few weeks ago, I decided to try what I call “a holy experiment” by adding two spiritual pauses in each day – one at about noon and another just before dinner in the evening.

I stop, read a devotional thought or a psalm and pray, just briefly. With minutes, I am refreshed. Then I re-enter my day with a new attitude and already thinking about when I get to pause again. The result? Awareness of God and His presence permeates my day. And where He is there is peace.

How about you? Are you looking for calm in the busyness of this season? Try a holy experiment of your own: Take a short break, in your mind’s eye look into the face of the only One who can give you peace, and let Him in. He’s just waiting to be asked.

“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” – 2 Thessalonians 3:16