The Heart of a Shepherd

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. – (Luke 2:16-18, NIV)

 

I am continuing to revisit and ponder the story of the shepherds and the role that God called them to play when Jesus was born. Not only were they the first people to witness the miracle of His birth, but they were also the first to share the good news of His long-awaited arrival. These “lowly” shepherds understood the significance of Who was lying in the manger before them, so they went out and shared with others, the awe and wonder that they had just beheld. Rather than being repelled by these shepherds, people were amazed at what they heard. What had been foretold so long ago, had finally come to pass. I imagine it was the hope that had been missing, finally being spoken aloud. Today, it is no different. For so many, hope is absent, and the need to know about or be reminded of the arrival and the reason for the season, is critical. People who normally would be repelled by an invitation to hear, are receptive and willing to partake in candlelight services and “traditional” Christmas activities where the truth about Christmas is told. May we each have the heart of a shepherd and embrace the hope that we know, so that we too are eager to share this hope with those who need it most.

 

The shepherds who watched, The Heart of a Shepherd

Their flocks through the night;

Were by God chosen,

To see first His light.

The angel declared,

What they could go see;

As God had come down,

For you and for me.

The shepherds, they ran,

To find as they’d heard;

In awe and wonder,

They witnessed God’s word.

This amazing sight,

The glory beheld;

Led them to go out,

And of this news tell.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You show the least of us Your glory in incredible ways, and give us the grace to share with others, the beauty of Your goodness and grace. Thank You that You came down and made Yourself approachable and tangible to ordinary people. Forgive us for thinking that we have to be anything other than ourselves to make a difference in the lives of those around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to show us how to love as You love each of us. Help us to make You accessible to many through our words and deeds. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate in awe and wonder, the incredible gift You gave us through Your Son. Amen.

 

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

 

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Isaiah 9:6

 

 

Nature Sings

You will live in joy and peace. The mountains and hills will burst into song, and the trees of the field will clap their hands! – (Isaiah 55:12, NLT)

So you will go out from there with joy. You will be led out in peace. When you come to the mountains and hills, they will begin singing. All the trees of the field will clap their hands. – (Isaiah 55:12, ERV)

 

Yesterday morning, as we approached the hills with the sun rising behind us, it felt as if the hills were singing before us. Though we were in the desert canyon of Red Rock, color was everywhere before us. I am constantly amazed at the beauty of God’s creation. Before, when I thought of desert canyons, I thought of brown, dusty hills. What my eyes beheld yesterday was far from that. Everywhere we looked, there were vibrant, living greens growing, with lovely red rock behind them. Jackrabbits bounded between bushes, and we even spied some tortoise lumbering along at the conservatory, as it was bath day for them. I think each of us left the park a bit more in awe of all His hands have made, as we drove away with joy and peace that directed our path. May we ever take time to notice in awe and wonder, all the beauty that His hands have made, and give Him praise for the joy that is ours to take it in.

 

Go to the mountains, Red Rock Canyon

The canyons or sea;

Observe and behold,

Gifts God grants for free.

You’ll find joy and peace,

For creation sings;

Of His mighty hand,

And the love He brings.

Wherever you are,

Look and take it in;

His glory unmatched,

Such grace found therein.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your glorious creation. Thank You that You created such beautiful diversity for our eyes to behold and enjoy. Thank You that when we take the time to observe what You have made, we walk away with restored peace and joy. Forgive us for not celebrating all that You have made, or for taking it for granted. Teach us to appreciate everything, as each moment of everyday is a gift. Show us how to love those around us in a way that makes moments count. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we live in joy and peace as we stand in awe of all that Your hands have made. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Because of the tender mercy of our God, …the rising sun will come to us from heaven. – Luke 1:78

The Treasures of Christmas

But Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. – (Luke 2:19, NLT)

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. – (Luke 2:19, NIV)

 

Mary, the one whom God chose to bear the Savior of the world, experienced wonders and miracles both before Jesus was born, and throughout His lifetime. I love how Luke points out that Mary made a point to treasure each event in her heart and remember what the Lord had done, as this is how a mama’s heart is wired. As my own children have transitioned from baby, to toddler, to children and now into teenagers, I too, have treasured the moments of significance in my heart, and likewise, I think of the moments and movements of God often. Christmas is the gift of God with us. Heaven came to earth so that we would know the wonder of Christ’s nearness, rather that God out there. Though we may not all be mamas, we all have moments and miracles to keep in our hearts and think about often. May we take time today to celebrate God with us, and the glorious gift that came to us so that we could have life everlasting as we remember the reason for this sacred season. Merry Christmas, and may your heart ponder the treasures He has given and continues to give.

 

When Love made way down,

O Holy Night

image by Rick Larson

From heaven to earth;

Such glory beheld,

In Christ’s sacred birth.

Though in modest scene,

No crib for a bed;

Jesus came to save,

And peace and love spread.

Just as His mother,

Held dear in her heart;

May we hold moments,

Of Love from the start.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son so that Love could come close. Thank You that Mary modeled the importance of keeping close to our hearts, all that You have done in us and for us and through us. Forgive us for not paying attention or for not recognizing the significance of all that You do. Teach us how to treasure each moment that You give us. Show us how every movement and moment matters to You. Help us to love as You love, so that people may see Your heart through the way that we love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we treasure all that You have done, and think about these things often. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present

Shout aloud and sing for joy. – Isaiah 12:6

Loved Without Limits

You are God’s dear children, so try to be like Him. Live a life of love. Love others just as Christ loved us. He gave Himself for us – a sweet-smelling offering and a sacrifice to God. – (Ephesians 5:1-2, ERV)

 

When we give our lives to Christ, we are His children. Our calling is to be a reflection of His radiance to all whom we encounter. His brilliance is best seen and understood through a life of love. Consistent care and kindness with no expectation in return, is the very sort of love that Jesus gave to us. He sacrificed all to create the opportunity for us to come to freely know Him. We too, can give up our own selfish desires to love without limits, and present opportunity for those around us to truly see the light of His love through us. May we embrace that which God has so generously given unto us, and go forth and love others with the very same love that draws people unto Him.

 

We are Your children,

beheld as Your own;

loved without limit,

so Your heart be known.

May we do likewise,

our very lives be;

A sweet sacrifice,

of love unto Thee.

May Your heart be clear,

to all whom we meet;

as we love like You,

may love be complete.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that we are Your children whom You loved so much, that You sent Your One and only Son for us. Thank You that Christ came and showed us what it is to truly live a life of love. Forgive us for our selfishness that withholds love when we ought to give. Teach us to trust You more, so that we will love freely and generously in all situations and circumstances, despite how we feel – allowing You to move in and through us. Show us how to love others as You love us, so that they may come to know You, personally. Be exalted O God, as we live lives of love, just as Christ loved us. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. – Galatians 5:22-23