Joy Unconstrained

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. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. – (Luke 2:16-20, NIV) 

So, they went running and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the feeding box. When they saw the baby, they told what the angels said about this child. Everyone was surprised when they heard what the shepherds told them. Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. The shepherds went back to their sheep, praising God and thanking Him for everything they had seen and heard. It was just as the angel had told them. – (Luke 2:16-20, ERV) 

 

After having been visited first by a messenger of God, then bearing witness to an army of heavenly hosts singing praise for the birth of Christ, which the angel of the Lord had announced to them, the shepherds went running to find the One whom the heavens had proclaimed. When they found Jesus lying in a manger, just as the angel had foretold, they were amazed and in awe at how what had been spoken was right there, before their very eyes. Their response was that which it ought to be, as when we receive such incredible news and then observe it coming to pass, we cannot help but share with others, the good that has come. I can only imagine these shepherds leaving the stable and telling anyone and everyone who would listen, the joy of what they had witnessed. The shepherds were likely the sort that kept to themselves, as sheep tending was not the most glamorous of positions. For these men to be so impacted by what they had seen and heard that they ignored their typical itinerary and spoke out, left the hearers surprised and in awe. Meanwhile, Mary took in everything that was spoken and all that she bore witness to, and treasured them in her heart. This young woman had much to take in and ponder, as she had been visited by an angel, spared the shame and potential death for her condition, traveled more than 80 miles to Bethlehem, given birth in a stable, and now was being seen by shepherds who had been visited by the heavenly hosts to tell of this sweet Savior’s birth. All of these things unfolded just as they had been foretold, and the shepherds returned to their fields, forever changed. Songs of praise flowed from them, for they understood the magnitude of the miracle that was lying in a manger. May we remember in awe and wonder, all that took place that night. For unto us, a Savior was born. The Light of the world had come. 

 

Most holy of nights, A Christmas Prayer

The angels proclaimed; 

A Savior is born, 

Such joy unconstrained. 

Shepherds went running, 

To see with their eyes; 

This glorious news, 

In a manger, lies. 

Imagine their joy, 

The blessing to see; 

Just as they’d been told, 

Christ born unto thee. 

Their hearts were bursting, 

At what they had found; 

This scene they beheld, 

The promise was sound. 

Mary, she treasured, 

All that came to be; 

Her precious infant, 

Was Christ, most holy. 

May we too, ponder, 

In wonder and awe; 

Precious unfolding, 

Of all that they saw. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that what You say, You will do. Thank You for the incredible way in which Jesus came into the world. Thank You that You sent Your heavenly hosts to ordinary people in an extraordinary way. Thank You that because Jesus came as a baby, He lived and knew, experienced and grew, in the same way that each of us do as we navigate in our own lives. Forgive us for not recognizing in awe and wonder, the incredible way in which You sent heaven to earth, so we could experience rebirth. Teach us to trust in Your promises and to stand in awe as we witness them come to pass. Show us how to love those around us in ways that show of Your faithfulness and grace. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate Your arrival and behold Your promises that have come to pass. Amen. 

 

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

 

With all my heart I will praise You, O Lord my God. I will give glory to Your Name forever. – Psalm 86:12

 

Thankful for Love that Endures

With praise and thanksgiving they sang to the Lord: “He is good; His love to Israel endures forever.” And all the people gave a great shout of praise to the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid. – (Ezra 3:11)

The people during David’s time, had seen the destruction of the former glory of the temple that Solomon had built. Some, had never even known anything except the rubble of the ruins that remained. Finally, fifty years after the destruction, the foundation of a new temple of the Lord had been laid. I imagine there was such power in the recognition of the reality of the promise to rebuild, coming to pass before their very eyes. The people responded with praise and thanksgiving, as they identified His goodness and faithfulness for all time. God had been faithful in the destruction, and continued to remain faithful as they were in the space of rebuilding.

God does not change. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. The Lord is present with people in the midst of destruction, and remains present throughout the healing and rebuilding process. May our hearts, though at times are heavy from all of the destruction that we see, be encouraged to sing praise and thanks to God because He is good and His love and faithfulness to people remains for all time. Be our foundation, O God, no matter what we see.

Praise and thanksgiving,

Vandy Massey Watercolor

Vandy Massey Watercolor

sing unto the Lord;

for He is so good,

all grace He affords.

When all seems but lost,

in Him we are found;

the Lord shall restore,

what was shaking ground.

With great shouts of praise,

give God the glory;

for He holds the pen,

to write our story.

Though storms enter in,

our course is assured;

when we trust in Christ,

we’ve strength to endure.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are good and Your love endures forever. Thank You for the foundation that You lay in the hearts of all who choose to trust in You. Forgive us for not giving proper praise and thanksgiving for who You are, despite what we witness around us. Father, we lift up all of those impacted by the tragedy in France, and ask that You would be their Comfort and their Healer, as they find themselves in a place of ruin, needing You to rebuild. Teach us to trust You more, so that we might extend thanks and praise unto You through all that we say and do. Lead us to love others so that they may come to know Your goodness and love. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing of Your goodness and enduring love with praise and thanksgiving. Amen.

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

Father, I thank You that You have heard me. – John 11:41