May this short reflection speak to your heart on this Christmas Eve. Peace and Blessings to each one.
IN THE STILLNESS……
Shhhh……. Listen…… Feel the stillness….
She was tired and about to give birth to a baby. Joseph was extremely weary. They had traveled for a very long time. What love this man had for her and what tremendous faith he had in God to stay by her side, believing and trusting that she was pure--a virgin, true to him, having miraculously conceived the baby through the Holy Spirit. What trust Mary had in God. She knew God was asking her to serve Him and she willingly obeyed, despite the tremendous risks ahead of them. She knew God had chosen her and, without any knowledge of the future ahead of her, she simply said to Gabriel, the angel, ”I am the Lord’s servant,…..May it be to me as you have said.” She did not laugh, she did not doubt, she completely submitted and accepted what God was asking her to do.
Our society loves to celebrate Christmas---shopping, parties, & traditions. In fact, we spend most of the month eagerly preparing for it. Warm feelings, family, friends and celebrations become our focus. Yet, Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior was born in a dirty animal stable, his parents young and poor. He was placed in a straw-filled manger, literally a feeding trough for animals. No family or friends. No celebration. Certainly no royal surroundings. Expectations had been high for a King to arrive, a King who would conquer a powerful Roman empire. Instead, Jesus Christ came as a peaceful Messiah, in the form of a babe, and He would one day conquer sin.
God chose Mary and God chose this humble entrance into the world so Christ could truly KNOW us. He would feel our pain, and our joys. He would experience loss, rejection and betrayal. He was not a high ranking King who would sit on a throne in a palace totally oblivious to the struggles of the “real” world.
Miraculously, He is God, who appeared as a Babe, grew to become a man, and humbly walked this earth, experiencing our humanness because of His immense love for us. His offer of salvation and eternal life is to all who will believe in Him and receive Him as Lord and Savior.
Yes, it is a time to be joyful, to celebrate. But have we been doing that for a whole month without much thought about the incredible event that took place in Bethlehem? It was real…..Mary and Joseph were two young people seeking a place for Mary to give birth so the promises of God could unfold. Christ’s birth does not just create a cozy feeling of a tiny little innocent baby. It was an event that opened the door to eternal life……ETERNAL LIFE!! There will never be any other gift on earth that could equal the priceless treasure God gave to us through Jesus Christ, His one and only begotten Son. Whoever, WHOEVER believes in Him, WILL have life everlasting!!!
Take time, in the stillness of this holy night………quiet your hearts before God………clear your minds of the “to-do” lists and focus, truly focus on the reality of this miracle that took place so many years ago. Thank Him and Praise Him for “sticking closer than a brother“ every moment of every day. Seek His presence, dwell in His presence wherever you are or whatever your situation in life may be. It is only then that Christmas will truly be what it should be. It is only then that peace will flood your soul.
©Kathleen M. Pritchard 2005
A priority for me today is to make sure my brother knows I didn't forget his b-day!! So I 'd like to begin today's post with HAPPY B-DAY ART!!!! May today be wonderful and special and all things beautiful (don't worry, I won't mention how OLD you are!! ;-) Love 'ya lots!!
Now, I'd like to share some thoughts with you:
I want to thank everyone who has been faithfully reading my journal (or blog as it may be referred to). I particularly appreciate it because I often can't get another post written for awhile. Yet, my head is FULL of exciting ideas because the days are so full of God's grace, beauty, faithfulness, guidance and just when I need it most.....comfort. My head fills with thoughts to write and my heart overflows with gratitude and a deep, deep love for Him. Yet the hours tick by (actually, they FLY by!) and before I know it, evening arrives and I get "writer's block." Absolutely blank--my brain is done!
As much as I'm eager to write often, I am learning to recognize that the writer's block at the end of the day is likely a gift from the Lord. I always wake up fresh and ready for a new day and I believe it's because I'm learning to listen to my body and especially my brain (which basically tells the rest of my body what to do). When I take time to rest during the day, I can only rest....I cannot sleep because of the meds I'm on. However, I find great benefit from lying down, closing my eyes, and if need be, plugging in my ear bugs. Blocking out stimuli, visual and audible, enables my brain and body to recharge for about 15-20 minutes which really does make a difference!
I am so aware that my situation is not much different than other folks, particularly those with brain injury, strokes, or other types of disabilities/health challenges. I want to emphasize the benefits of taking time to catch your breath during this busy season. Let others help when they offer, even if they do things differently than you would. When you do this two gifts are exchanged: the gift of giving on their end, and the gift of receiving on yours. Isn't that exactly what God did when He sent His Son into the world?
He gave us the most precious gift of all, but we must receive that precious gift with an open heart.
I want to really encourage you to step back, count your blessings each day (writing them down can boggle your mind!), and thank God for the value, worth and purpose of your life.....just as it is. Let His grace wash over you and let His Son's birth saturate your heart with awe and holiness.
Start a new tradition this year.....make time to rest, find time to seek the King, and let His peace set the pace for your life this Christmas.
"At day's end I'm ready for sound sleep, for you, God, have put my life back together." (Psalm 4: 8 MSG)
The header for this blog includes a prayer I often whisper. I have posted it up as a silent reminder of the importance to make time to rest. It is particularly relevant during the hustle and bustle of this blessed, but busy season. My hubby Kip, is going to raise his eyebrows (or something like that) when he reads this post because he does the verbal reminding when the silent reminder is, well.....too silent and I keep pushing forward.
I love life and I love Christmas! I stick my fingers into a lot of pies (thankfully, not literally!) and then whomp! I get so tuckered I feel nauseated and weak. My internal fountain of tears starts watering everything in sight and it's not much fun....for me, or for Kip.
We have talked about this...a LOT. He is my ultimate cheerleader and his support for the things I do is incredible. He gives me ample room to blossom and he waters my garden of ideas with encouragement. The best thanks I can give him is to find time each day to rest. Doing so enables me to be the best I can be without trying to push beyond what I just physically cannot do anymore. I remember a trauma specialist telling me several times, "Kathie, when you make time to rest your mind and body, you will find that you do so much more than if you try to push through your fatigue. And, you'll do things well." Through the years his words have definitely rung true.
I am thankful that each morning my heart gets excited about the possibilities that await. I love to create, to write, to encourage and to make a difference where I can....especially with regard to sharing God's love. I love to open our home to others. I love to make each one feel special---because they are. The only way I can do this is to listen to my body, take stock of what is really essential to get done, pare down unreasonable personal expectations and let the love of God radiate from within in a beautiful way.
Christmas is coming---prepare for it with grace, joy and internal peace.
"Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure....You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand." (Psalm 16: 9 & 11)
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