Unto Us

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, NIV)

For a child will be born for us, a Son will be given to us, and the government will be on His shoulders. He will be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, HCSB)

Hope of all hopes, dream of our dreams, a child is born, sweet-breathed; a Son is given to us: a living gift. And even now, with tiny features and dewy hair, He is great. The power of leadership, and the weight of authority, will rest on His shoulders. His name? His name we’ll know in many ways – He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Dear Father everlasting, ever-present never-failing, Master of Wholeness, Prince of Peace. – (Isaiah 9:6, VOICE)

The arrival. Heaven coming to earth in the form of a baby who would grow and become the Savior of the world, was foretold centuries prior to His birth. All of the anticipation and joy that comes with a newborn baby was experienced by Mary and Joseph. However, God did not just make the arrival known to Mary and Joseph, for He placed a star in the sky to indicate where the baby lay, and had heavenly hosts announce His coming to shepherds in the fields nearby as they watched their sheep at night. The living gift. God with us is a gift that knows no end. Each name foretold has proven true again and again throughout the ages. Jesus indeed is a Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father and the Prince of Peace. He comforts us in our time of need, He is more powerful than anything that might come against us, He is the same yesterday, today and forever, and He is the place where we find our peace. Though today is set aside as a day to celebrate His arrival, everyday that we draw breath ought to be spent in thanksgiving for all that He is as He grants us hope, joy, love and peace no matter what surrounds us. May we each take pause today to recognize and give thanks for the hope that we have in Him, the joy that is found in knowing Who is for us, the love that He gives unconditionally, and the peace that is found when our hearts and minds are set on Him. Merry Christmas to all, for He has come!

Unto all of us,

A Savior has come;

Blessed Messiah,

The battle’s been won.

For that sweet baby,

In whom hope did lay;

The promised Savior,

Who’d take sin away.

No more a baby,

He’s now on the throne;

Eternal Father,

In whom we are known.

May we each seek Him,

And find sweet release;

As we trust in Him,

The great Prince of Peace.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to save us. Thank You that He came humbly so that He might know and understand what we experience in our broken humanity. Thank You that He took on the weight of the world so that we might know hope, joy, love and peace. Forgive us for allowing the distractions of the world to divert our eyes from the real reason for the season. Show us how to honor You in all that we do today and always. Lead us to love as You love so that all whom we encounter would sense and experience hope, joy, love and peace in You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we celebrate Your arrival and Your eternal roles as our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace. Amen.

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

Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David. – Luke 2:11

To the Shepherds

In the same region, shepherds were staying out in the fields and keeping watch at night over their flock. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people: Today a Savior, who is Messiah the Lord, was born for you in the city of David.” – (Luke 2:8-11, HCSB)

That night, some shepherds were out in the fields near Bethlehem watching their sheep. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord was shining around them. The shepherds were very afraid. The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid. I have some very good news for you – news that will make everyone happy. Today your Savior was born in David’s town. He is the Messiah, the Lord. – (Luke 2:8-11, ERV)

There were shepherds camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master.” – (Luke 2:8-11, MSG)

I love that God first announced the birth of His Son to shepherds who were guarding their sheep from predators. As shepherds, they had to fend off wild animals and poachers, yet an angel was outside their realm of what they might see on any given night. However, the first thing the angel said to them was, “Do not be afraid.” Once the initial fear subsided, imagine being the ones to receive such an amazing announcement. For four hundred years, God had been silent, and yet here, out in a field, the glory of the Lord appeared to shepherds to tell of the arrival of the promised Messiah that had so long ago been foretold. We know what happens next, as the shepherds hurried on their way to see this sight that the angel had proclaimed with awe and wonder. As we continue toward Christmas, may we, as ordinary people, be in awe to recall that God came near to us so that we may all embrace the grace that gives new life through the birth, life, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus. He came for all to make the way for us to be restored. It is up to us to receive this most precious gift ever given. Lord, lead us in awe and wonder as we ponder the powerful promise fulfilled as You sent heaven to earth to become God with us.

In awe and wonder,

Imagine the sight;

The presence of God,

Gave shepherds a fright.

But to their surprise,

An angel brought news;

The promised Savior,

Was nearby, in view.

Of all the people,

Nearby His birth place;

God chose the shepherds,

To first see His face.

The face of the Lord,

A new baby born;

To save humankind,

The One to adore.

May we remember,

In wonder and awe;

The most blessed news,

And all that they saw.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your messenger to ordinary shepherds to share the glorious news of the Savior’s birth. Thank You that though an overwhelming sight, You had the angel remind them that they need not fear, for You had sent Your Son to be near. Forgive us for forgetting that You do incredible things through ordinary people to look to You. Teach us to ever look to You and remember all that You have done. Show us how to love those around us in ways that make Your love tangible. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we trust You to do extraordinary things through ordinary people who believe You. Amen.

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

Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to people He favors! – Luke 2:14

Anna’s Answer

Anna the prophetess was also there, a daughter of Phanuel from the tribe of Asher. She was by now a very old woman. She had been married seven years and a widow for eighty-four. She never left the Temple area, worshiping night and day with her fasting and prayers. At the very time Simeon was praying, she showed up and broke into an anthem of praise to God, and talked about the child to all who were waiting expectantly for the freeing of Jerusalem. – (Luke 2:36-38, MSG)

 

Though Matthew does not reveal to us whether or not Anna had been promised to see the Messiah before the end of her life, I imagine that her presence in the Temple was no accident nor coincidence, as Mary and Joseph brought Jesus on the eighth day after his birth. It is difficult to fathom the life of Anna. Widowed, likely at a very young age, she chose to remain in the Temple area day in and day out, for decades. Matthew describes her has a prophet, and her heart was clearly connected to God as she worshiped and prayed day and night. Likely, one of her often prayed prayers was for the Savior to come to rescue Israel, as had been foretold in scripture. Incredibly, after all of her faithful time spent serving and honoring God, she suddenly found herself standing in the presence of a promise coming to fruition. Immanuel, God with us, came near in a tangible way to Anna, who had waited nearly a lifetime to behold the very One who was held before her. May we worship with the same sort of wonder and celebration as those first few whom God blessed with the opportunity to be in the presence of our Savior. The glory of the first Christmas remains the same, as we celebrate God with us, now and forevermore.

 

Remarkable the faith, Annas Answer

And hope she held dear;

Faithful for ages,

Prayers that God come near.

In awe and wonder,

Her eyes did behold;

The promised Savior,

Scriptures had foretold.

She could not help speak,

To all others tell;

This most holy news,

Rejoice! It is well.

The hope she had held,

Was found in the eyes;

Eight-day-old baby,

Future realized.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Your Son to save us. Thank You that Jesus made the way for us to be in right relationship with You, despite our shortcomings. Forgive us for forgetting all that Jesus went through to not only redeem us, but to know and understand our struggles and pain. Teach us to trust You with a relentless faith like Anna. Help us to faithfully pray and worship You, regardless of what we see. Show us how to love those around us in a way that offers hope where there is none, so they too may look to You. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we thank You and praise You for all that You have done through the precious gift of Your Son. Amen.

 

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

 

Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy. – Hebrews 4:16