Announced Arrival

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others – the armies of heaven – praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” – (Luke 2:13-14, NLT) 

Then all at once, a vast number of glorious angels appeared, the very armies of heaven! And they all praised God, singing: “Glory to God in the highest realm of heaven! For there is peace and good hope given to the sons of men.” – (Luke 2:13-14, TPT) 

 

One of my favorite moments to anticipate each year, is candlelight service on Christmas Eve. There is a moment in the evening when a single flame is lit, the lights are extinguished, and people then begin to pass the flame, candle to candle, as songs of praise in remembrance of that most holy night, are sung by all. Soon, the entire sanctuary is full of the glorious glowing light, and an army of angelic voices floods the room. Though but a glimpse, it is such a sweet reminder of that most holy night when heaven came to earth and the armies of heaven announced the arrival of Christ, as they sang in celebration of what God had done. May we each find a moment in the so often hectic season of preparation, to take in the tangible reminders of that most holy night. Let the glory of all that God has done flood our hearts and minds as we give our praise to the Ancient of Days. 

 

Darkness was flooded, Glory to God in the highest_sermon

With heavenly hosts; 

Singing out praises, 

To men at their posts. 

In awe, they watched them, 

In wonder and fright; 

As heaven drew near, 

On that holy night. 

This declaration, 

Such wondrous good news; 

Savior’s arrival, 

What would shepherds choose? 

The men in wonder, 

Left their fields that night; 

To see for themselves, 

The glorious sight. 

A glimpse of Jesus, 

In the stable lay; 

Their lives ever changed, 

That sacred birthday. 

May we find moments, 

Where we’re caught in awe; 

Of all that God did, 

Through the babe they saw. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the glorious gift of Your Son. Thank You for the heavenly hosts who announced His arrival to shepherds in their fields that night. Thank You for the moments in this sacred season that grant us glimpses of Your glory. Forgive us for not slowing down in awe and wonder at the marvelous miracle of Jesus and all that surrounded His arrival. Teach us to recognize the remarkable reminders of all that You have done to bring heaven to earth and make way for us to know You. Show us how to love those around us well, so that they make recognize the radiance of Your glory through the good that You send us in this sacred season. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the most holy arrival of Your Son, and give all glory to You. Amen.

 

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

 

You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, announcing the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. – Acts 10:36

Christ in Christmas

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

 

This is the night where the world takes pause to remember the most sacred occasion where heaven came to earth in the form of a baby boy. Born in a stable, not fit for the Savior of the world, yet God gave incredible assurance that this was indeed the way Mary and Joseph were meant to walk as they brought this blessed bundle forth in a stable surrounded by animals. Angelic visitations had announced that He would be born, heavenly hosts proclaimed His arrival – flooding the night sky over the heads of shepherds as they watched their flocks by night, and a bright star shone on His behalf to lead the way for those who were meant to find Him. Though not necessarily the beginning we might envision for the One who saves the world from sin and shame, Jesus’ arrival changed everything. Because He came, grew, walked in obedience, willingly laid down His life in our place, rose again and is seated at the right hand of the Father, we have way to be restored to right relationship with God. May we stop the activity on this day long enough to really recognize the significance of this most holy night that we celebrate. Jesus is the gift, and the reason we can give. Our Counselor, our God, our Father, and our Peace – these are the reasons we have light and life and love. Joy to the world, the Savior has come!

 

For a child was born,The story of Christmas metaphor represented by a manger and crown of thorns.

A Son was given;

The weight of the world,

He has forgiven.

The great Counselor,

Most mighty our God;

The Father who lasts,

Let our hearts applaud.

For He is our peace,

Born so we might live;

May we honor Him,

Through gifts that we give.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your only Son into the world so that we might be restored to right relationship with You. Thank You that You love us so much that You willingly laid down Your life for ours. Forgive us for not having our priorities in place and for forgetting the real reason for this most sacred season. Teach us to fix our eyes and hearts on You, so that all that we do is a reflection of You. Show us how to love and give as You do, so that our words and deeds are Your heart being made known to those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as so many take the time to gather with family and friends to celebrate. Let Christ be lifted high this Christmas. Amen.

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

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. – Psalm 145:8

Delight to Sing Praise

Praise the Lord! How good to sing praises to our God! How delightful and how fitting! – (Psalm 147:1, NLT)

 

Indeed this is a fitting day to give praise to the Lord, as we celebrate His blessed arrival all those years ago. Having participated in the candlelight service at my church last night, the image of glowing faces singing praises together to the rightful King, still linger this morning in my mind. It is such a treasure to have the freedom to gather with friends that have become family, and worship the One who came to save. Each one of us has a story, and not one of the stories has been without difficulty. In fact, so many have had a really trying year. In spite of that, God’s faithfulness has been made evident again and again, and each showed up, ready to sing praise, knowing that He is good. May we praise Him as we gather, give gifts, live and love out this day, remembering that all that is good, all that is lovely, all that is worthy to be praised – is because of Christ who came to us. Merry Christmas!

 

More than packages,Christmas star

wrapped up with delight;

is the treasure found,

in that holy night.

The greatest of gifts,

we’ve ever received;

when Christ chose come down,

to meet all our need.

Need for forgiveness,

He took all our sin;

though He was sinless,

they crucified Him.

He willingly went,

upon that old cross;

for us, He chose bear,

the ultimate cost.

Death was not the end,

for after three days;

Christ rose as He’d said,

He conquered the grave.

When back on His throne,

at God’s great right hand;

He sent His Spirit,

to fulfill His plan.

How fitting indeed,

that we give Him praise;

for love and for life,

all thanks all our days.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son so that we could be restored to a right relationship with You. Thank You that You are pleased when Your people praise You. Forgive us for not focusing our attention on the real reason for the season, and help us fix our minds and hearts on You as we go about this day. Teach us how to sing praise to You, and how to delight in all that You have done, and all that You are. Show us how to love others as You have so completely loved each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we sing praises unto You, and keep our hearts focused on who You are and all that You have done. Amen.

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

When times are good, be happy. – Ecclesiastes 7:14

Only Through Him

Before the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, coming close to God, was but an annual option, available only to a select few priests.  Once a year, the high priest would be allowed to enter the holy of holies to offer sacrifices for the people.  For all else, the temple courts were about as close to God as folks could come.  Life was a rigid set of rules and regulations; and when an infraction was made – blood had to be shed on the offender’s behalf.  Not to say that God didn’t move and do mighty things, for surely He did; however, the opportunity to truly understand and know Him, was rather elusive.

One holy night in Bethlehem, changed the course of human history forever.  God out there, became God with us.  Jesus came so that  the barrier between God and man could be broken down; providing the path to a personal relationship with the Redeemer, Himself.  He later told the disciples during the last supper, “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” – (John 14:6) 

His statement, though seemingly narrow to some, is actually expansive enough for the whole world.  He died, so that ALL who come to Him and choose to accept what He has done, will be welcomed into eternity with Him.  Jesus is the only way  to the Father.  When we receive Him, we receive the One who sent Him.  Christ too, is truth.  He is the reality of all of God’s promises.  Old Testament prophesies were fulfilled through His life, death and resurrection, and His very nature, shows that God’s word is true.  As the life, Jesus joins His holiness to our brokenness, covering all of our sin and shame, making us acceptable and righteous before the Father – ready and welcome to enter eternity with Him.

O Holy Night,Only Through Him

born unto the earth;

sweet blessed sight,

Christ-child, Savior’s birth.

God had come near,

sending His own Son;

friends, do not fear,

He shall overcome.

Jesus, the way,

our lifeline to God;

follow today,

His path we’re to trod.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You chose to send Your Son, so that we would have a way to come close to You.  Jesus, thank You that You stepped down from Your throne, and willingly endured all of the anguish on our behalf, so that we would be made righteous in You.  Forgive us for taking lightly this magnitude of this most glorious gift that You have freely given to all who choose to receive it, and help us to daily receive and embrace this treasure anew.  May we live and love as You love us, so that many may come to know the way, the truth and the life found in You.  Be glorified, our Prince of Peace.  Amen.

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

O Holy Night

“I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps My word, he will never see death.” – John 8:51

Jesus spoke the above mentioned words to the people in the temple so that they might know the truth.  Keeping His word means not just hearing or knowing it, but being obedient to what He asks.  Following Him is the first step of faith necessary to overcome spiritual death.  He promises that all who believe, will receive eternal life with Him.  With our celebration of His blessed birth, but a few days away, the following is what found way onto the page as my personal reflection to what I read in John this morning.

O Holy night,

when sin and fear took flight.

image by Rick Larson

image by Rick Larson

The Savior born to us,

to cover our wrongs with right.

Sinless did He live

His life, the everlasting light.

Heaven came to earth,

upon that sacred night.

Death upon the cross,

faced every shame and sinful plight.

Empty tomb displayed,

the wonder of heaven’s might.

Heavenly ascent,

returning to the Father’s right.

Spirit sent to us,

as our loving, guiding Light.

Glory to our God,

for that blessed, holy night!

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You made a way – by leaving heaven for earth, giving up perfection and peace for chaos and discomfort, for each and every one of us, individually – to come to know You and spend eternity in Your presence.  Thank You that though we do not deserve it, You give.  Forgive us for not readily receiving Your word and putting it into practice.  Teach us to trust Your truth and to allow Your Spirit to change us from the inside out.  May our lives bear evidence of Your light living in us so that many may come to know You.  Lead us to love well and to be ever grateful for the grace that has guided us unto You.  Thank You Father, for that Holy night that made coming close to You, possible.  Amen.

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

The First Day of Christmas – The Greatest Gift of ALL

“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

Herein lies the reminder of the most remarkable gift we have ever been given!  As we usher in this glorious season of celebrating the birth, the beginning of our salvation – found in our Savior, Jesus Christ, may we truly grasp the magnificence of this most momentous gift.

For each and every one of us, while we were still sinners, He came as but a babe, into a humble space, showed us the heart of our Heavenly Father, and then took all our sin and shame upon Himself, as He boldly bore them on the cross at Calvary.  He did not come because we were worthy, or somehow had earned His grace, but rather He came and died because He loves us and wanted to provide the way for us to spend all of eternity with Him.

On this first day of Christmas, may our hearts and minds meditate on the most magnificent gift that has ever been given – while we were still sinners, He came to save!

pastel by Tammy OdomPlease click image to see her work :)

O Holy Night,

 
pastel by Tammy Odom
Please click image to see her work 🙂

ever precious in our sight.

When all of heaven heard

God speak salvation’s word.

As a babe, He sent His Son,

so all sin and death’d be undone.

May we each receive God’s grace,

and ever rest in His sweet embrace.

Dear Heavenly Father,  thank You that while we were stuck sinking in sin, You sent Your Son to save us.  Thank You that though we were sinners, You chose to love.  Forgive us for the times that we allow our gaze to stray from the reason for this season, and may our every attitude and action announce the purpose of praising You, now and forever.  Teach us to give as we have been given and to love as we are loved.  May we be a reflection of You so that many may be moved to receive Your glorious gift of grace this season.  Amen.

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