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

A Glimpse of Heaven

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” – (Luke 2:8-10) 

That night, in a field near Bethlehem, there were shepherds watching over their flocks. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared in radiant splendor before them, lighting up the field with the blazing glory of God, and the shepherds were terrified! But the angel reassured them, saying, “Don’t be afraid. For I have come to bring you good news, the most joyous news the world has ever heard! It is for everyone everywhere! – (Luke 2:8-10, TPT) 

 

Ordinary shepherds learned of extraordinary news. The men out in their fields were used to fending off predators to their flock, but angelic visits were not within their repertoire of everyday occurrences that they encountered while watching their sheep. Clearly it was an overwhelming sight, as the radiant splendor of God’s messenger caused great fright within the shepherds, and the angel of the Lord had to tell them that they need not be afraid. Incredibly, these faithful shepherds were the first to receive news of the Savior’s birth, and were quick to leave their fields to go and see what the angel had spoken of in Bethlehem. The shepherd’s rapid response to the angel’s news led to them being among the very first to witness and marvel at the miracle lying before them in a manger. The Son of God, Christ the Savior, had arrived. Just as the shepherds received the news so long ago, we are reminded each year during this season of celebration, of the great news that began with the birth of Jesus, that ultimately led to the opportunity for salvation for all who choose believe. May we take time to meditate on the splendor of Christ’s majesty, and recognize the remarkable way in which He came into the world. No palace nor throne, but a simple stable in the open air of night, as an angel proclaimed the arrival of Christ the Lord to some faithful shepherds. Ordinary men received extraordinary news, and because they chose to listen and go see, their lives were changed for all eternity. 

 

Faithful the shepherds, Faithful the Shepherds

In the fields that night; 

Met by an angel, 

Terrifying sight. 

Radiant glory, 

Overwhelmed the men; 

Unprepared to see, 

A glimpse of heaven. 

The angel told them, 

“Do not be afraid; 

For I bring good news, 

To tell you this day.” 

Birth of the Savior, 

In the town nearby; 

They rushed to go see, 

The sweet babe that night. 

Imagine the sight, 

As shepherds arrived; 

Just as they had heard, 

The hope for mankind. 

Though but an infant, 

The shepherds, they knew; 

What had been spoken, 

Was certainly true. 

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to be among us. Thank You that though He is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, He came in a way that is approachable and relatable. Heaven came to earth through a miraculous birth, and was declared to ordinary people, just like us. Forgive us for not recognizing in wonder, the magnitude of what took place. Teach us to see and imagine the mountains You moved to bring heaven to earth, so that we all could come to know You, personally. Show us how to love those around us in a way that reflects the depth and willing sacrifice that Your love has given through Jesus. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we stand in awe and wonder at the humble and incredible way that Jesus came to make the way for us all to know You. Amen.

 

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

 

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” – Luke 2:15

Strength to Stand

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. – (Isaiah 40:29, NIV)

He helps tired people be strong. He gives power to those without it. – (Isaiah 40:29, ERV)

He energizes those who get tired, gives fresh strength to dropouts. – (Isaiah 40:29, MSG)

He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak. – (Isaiah 40:29, TLB)

 

How I am still functioning is clearly by the grace of God. For more than a week now, I have struggled to sleep at night. Though it is spring break, I have gone ahead and gotten out of bed long before the sun has risen, as by the time it reaches three or four o’clock, I figure I have tried long enough and may as well begin my day. Each day, I have had the strength I have needed to navigate what was required of me, and on a few of the days, found there was even time for a nap. He has sustained me with His strength where my own has been lacking. God is faithful to meet us in our weariness and weakness and fill us with His strength and power. May we ever seek Him in full surrender, trusting that He will provide all that we need to rise up and run strong.

 

In full surrender, Be strong and courageous

To You, Lord, I come;

Tired and weary,

My heart is undone.

I lean into You,

For I know Your hands;

Are strong when I’m weak,

You give strength to stand.

Power provided,

When ours is all gone;

Help we can hope in,

For You make us strong.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You give strength to the weary and increase power in the weak. Thank You that we can always turn to You in trust. Forgive us for attempting to “muscle our way” through things on our own, rather than running to You. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would depend on You to be our strength when we are weary and power when we are weak. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers Your strength and hope and help when they are weary and weak. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we receive all that You offer to sustain and strengthen us to press on. Amen.

 

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

 

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

Blanketed in Peace

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” – (Luke 2:14, NLT)

“Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom He favors.” – (Luke 2:14, CEB)

“Glory to God in the highest realms of heaven! For there is peace and a good hope given to the sons of men.” – (Luke 2:14, TPT)

 

Just as the host of angels sang these words after the one had brought the glorious announcement to the shepherds in their fields at night so many years ago, we are reminded of the very same peace and glory today. Last evening as our candlelight service ended, snow began falling and blanketing the earth around us. To me, there is nothing quite so serene, peaceful and beautiful as a scene freshly blanketed in snow. It reminds me that we are made new, and restores hope that the things that seem chaotic will become calm, and that which is broken or fractured can be made new. Peace on earth, goodwill to all, for the Light of the world has come to bring hope to us through the baby born in a stable so long ago. That baby grew and lived and loved with His very life, so that we could know life everlasting. May we take pause in awe and wonder, and marvel at the peace and good hope that has come to us, as gently as freshly fallen snow.

 

Just as fresh snow falls,

Blanketed in Peace

photo credit: Flickr by pixelmama

And blankets the earth;

We’re reminded of,

Our dear Savior’s birth.

For on that dark night,

A long time ago;

The angels appeared,

To shepherds below.

With heavenly voice,

They lifted a song;

All glory to God,

May peace carry on.

Great hope is granted,

To those who believe;

Who trust in the Lord,

With this He is pleased.

So, gaze and the snow,

Take in its pure light;

Remember the peace,

That came on that night.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the precious gift of Your Son and the hope and peace that is found in Him. Thank You for the beauty of Your creation, and the tangible reminder of how we are made clean and new in You, just as the earth appears in a blanket of freshly fallen snow. Forgive us for not recognizing the reminders of Your peace and hope that You present all around us. Teach us to trust You more, so that we are acutely aware of Your presence and Your peace, even in the places where it does not make sense. Show us how to be ambassadors of peace and hope to a world in need, as we love as we are loved by You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate the peace that came to us through the precious gift of Your Son. Amen.

 

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

 

But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ. – Ephesians 2:4-5

To Ever Seek First

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need. – (Matthew 6:33, NLT)

What you should want most is God’s kingdom and doing what He wants you to do. Then He will give you all these other things you need. – (Matthew 6:33, ERV)

But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. – (Matthew 6:33, NIV)

 

When we are actively pursuing and invested in God, He is present and provides that which we truly need. It does not mean that He is an overindulgent Daddy that grants us our every whim, but rather He sees and knows what is best, and directs our steps and remains present. The more that we seek Him, the more our desires align with His. As they do, He equips and empowers us to go forth and do those things that have been stirring in our hearts. May we ever seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, so that all that we do is in faithful pursuit of His will.

 

Seek first the kingdom, Safe in New Seasons

Of our God above;

As we pursue Him,

He meets us in love.

As we seek the Lord,

We learn to live right;

God’s ever faithful,

Keeps us in His sight.

The things that we need,

By grace, He’ll supply;

So we continue,

From morning to night.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that as we seek Your kingdom and pursue a life of righteousness, You supply all that we need to live according to Your will. Forgive us for not walking the way we are called to walk, or for not asking for Your help in the spaces that we need more help than we realize. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would ever seek You above all else, in all things and at all times, so that we may walk in Your will; always. Show us how to love others as You so generously love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You above all else and pursue a life according to Your good and perfect will. Amen.

 

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

 

Your righteousness reaches to the skies, O God, You who have done great things. Who, O God, is like You? – Psalm 71:19

Revealed Glory

The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display His craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make Him known. – (Psalm 19:1-2, NLT)

The heavens tell about the glory of God. The skies announce what His hands have made. Each new day tells more of the story, and each night reveals more about God’s power. – (Psalm 19:1-2, ERV)

 

Regardless of whether or not we are looking or listening, God’s glory is continually being revealed. All around us there is evidence of His handiwork. From the rising and setting of the sun, to the ocean’s tide only coming so far – each powerfully displaying the mighty work of our Creator’s hands. At night, we need only escape the distraction of the city lights to look up and discover the dizzying design mapped out by our Maker. More stars than our eyes can count, His creation reveals glimpses of His power that are greater than we can fathom. May we ever recognize God’s majesty and might as we observe the glory of His creation all around us. All praise, honor and glory unto You Lord, now and forevermore.

 

All heaven declares,Hope for Eternity

The glory of God;

Powerful display,

May each heart applaud.

Give praise for the skies,

That speak of His hands;

And night after night,

Show His heart to man.

So speak of His love,

And show well His grace;

Help others see too,

His glorious ways.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are great and worthy of all of our praise. Thank You that Your glory is displayed throughout the earth, and Your majesty is announced in the skies. Thank You that You are for us, and that You long to be in relationship with us, if only we choose to seek You. Forgive us for not recognizing the incredible craftsmanship of Your creation that is all around us, or for neglecting to be grateful for Your goodness and grace. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would recognize all of Your glory that surrounds us, and go forth giving You praise for Your precious presence. Show us how to love those around us in the same way that You love each of us. Be glorified O God, as we give You our praise for the glory of all that You have made, and go forth in gratitude as we love like You. Amen.

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

Let the heavens rejoice, let the earth be glad. – 1 Chronicles 16:31

Even in the Small Things

This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; He is my God, and I trust Him. – (Psalm 91:2, NLT)

I say to the Lord, “You are my place of safety, my fortress. My God, I trust in You.” – (Psalm 91:2, ERV)

 

Though I am a person who typically requires less sleep than most, I do struggle to function well if I get fewer than four hours in a given night. Saturday night, the already late event we went to was delayed by an hour in beginning, and because it was over an hour away from home, I did not even get home to get to bed until nearly 2:00 am. Sunday, I had already committed to running media at both services at church, so that meant I needed to be there by seven-thirty. In order for me to do my usual morning routine, it requires at least ninety minutes. Graciously, God (and strong coffee) kept me alert and able to do that which I had agreed to do. After, I had already determined that the boys and I should drive to see my Mom, as it was her first Mother’s Day without her mom. This is where I felt that the need to trust Him to be our safety and refuge was needed, as going to see her was a non-negotiable. There was only one point on the way where I began to feel drowsy. I made a pit stop for snacks and caffeinated beverages, and we were good the remainder of the drive. Though far shorter a visit than any of us would have liked, I knew after our time together, that it was exactly what we were meant to do. The drive home was relatively easy and uneventful, and my copilot did a great job of making sure I was alert. God is faithful to answer as we ask, even in such seemingly small things. May we ever remember that He alone is our refuge and place of safety; our God in whom we can trust.

 

The Lord’s my refuge,Even in the Small Things

In Him we can trust;

Our place of safety,

He is true and just.

No matter what comes,

Big things or small;

To Him we can run,

He can handle all.

So speak out in faith,

Declare what is true;

“God, You’re my fortress,

And I trust in You.”

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are our refuge and place of safety. Thank You that You are our help and worthy of our trust. Thank You that You equip and empower us to do that which You call us to, regardless of how things appear. Forgive us for our lack of faith, and teach us to trust You more. Show us how to run to You as our refuge in all things and at all times. Lead us to love those around us in a way that offers safety and trust where it has not been known before. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to be our place of safety; always. Amen.

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

You have made known to me the paths of life; You will fill me with joy in Your presence. – Acts 2:28

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

It is Good to Praise

It is good to praise the Lord and make music to Your Name, O Most High, to proclaim Your love in the morning and Your faithfulness at night. – (Psalm 92:1-2)

 

A remarkable thing happens when praise is our priority. The focus is removed from our fears, failures and trials, and comes to rest on He who is our help and hope in all things and at all times. God is always good, even when our circumstances are not; therefore He always deserves our worship and praise. To proclaim His love in the morning, is to prepare our hearts properly for the day. As we set our sights on the Savior, we go forth aligned with Christ, and are better equipped for whatever lies before us. At day’s end, it is indeed good to speak of His faithfulness that has carried us throughout the day. Giving voice to the truth of His provision and presence renews our faith and resolve to further trust in Him. May we indeed praise the Lord, making music to His Name, ever proclaiming His love in the morning and His faithfulness at night.

 

It is always good,Presenting Our Praise

to give the Lord praise;

to sing unto Him,

throughout all our days.

For He is Most High,

so faithful and true;

let’s proclaim His love,

and faithfulness too.

From morning to night,

let our hearts still sing;

of who our God is,

our praise offering.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Lord Most High, and worthy of all of our praise. Thank You that Your love and faithfulness are forever present, giving us reason to offer You continual praise, no matter what our circumstance. Forgive us for not fixing our hearts on You when times are tough, and help us to trust You more, so that we will give You praise, as we proclaim Your love in the morning, and speak of Your faithfulness at the day’s end. Lead us to love others with the very same love that You pour out upon each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise You and make music to Your Name, proclaiming Your love in the morning and Your faithfulness at night. Amen.

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

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

Peace He Brings

“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flock at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord. this will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.” – (Luke 2:8-14)

All those years ago, God’s message for ordinary men, doing ordinary things, was extraordinary. Their initial response to the messenger was fear, for such an appearance would be a bit frightening. Immediately, the angel spoke and told them, “Do not be afraid, I bring you good news.” Imagine the awe and wonder that must have been filling their hearts and minds, as the shepherds stood in the dark of night, with God’s glory suddenly lighting the area around them. More than the scene that continued to unfold, as the single angel was suddenly joined by a great company of heavenly host, was the message that they were sharing. Glory to God in the highest, for this Savior who has been born, and for us on earth, peace?

Peace, shalom, the peace of God, means so much more than simply being at ease. The peace the heavenly hosts were proclaiming is the peace that provides wholeness, unity and harmony, regardless of what is going on in the world around us. His peace is our place of calm, united in Him, be it in times of trouble or in times of favor. (peace defined by Pastor Jon @ www.gcfw.org)

In this season of celebrating the coming of Christ to earth, born to us as a baby, bringing the peace of God to people on earth, may we give Him all glory, and proclaim the precious peace that is provided through Him alone.

Once on a dark night,Peace He Brings

men watching their flock;

an angel appeared,

no more could they talk.

Fear took hold of them,

for their was great light;

God’s brilliant glory,

gave them such a fright.

Then the angel spoke,

told them not to fear;

good news of great joy,

God’s peace had come near.

The gift born that night,

lived, died and raised up;

so we too may know,

fullness of His cup.

Peace to us He brings,

if we let Him in;

making us brand new,

cleansed from all our sin.

Glory to our God,

from Whom, peace does come;

praises to our King,

Father, Spirit, Son.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You came so that we might know Your peace, that passes all understanding and brings wholeness, unity and harmony in You. Thank You that Your peace is so much more than momentary ease. Thank You that Your peace remains, even when chaos and crisis come. Forgive us for our fear, and teach us to trust in You, so that we are aware of Your peace, that is ever present when we yield our lives to You. May we live our lives in love in such a way, that Your peace is made evident to all who are around us. May many come to know that there is so much more to Christmas than Your birth as a baby. May lives be changed and hearts turned toward You. All glory and honor to You. Amen.

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