The Weight of Grief in the Garden

When He rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, He found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. – (Luke 22:45, NIV)
When He finished praying, He went to His followers. He found them asleep, worn out from their grieving.  – (Luke 22:45, ERV)
When Jesus finished praying, He got up and went to His disciples and found them all asleep, for they were exhausted and overwhelmed with sorrow. – (Luke 22:45, TPT)
I am not sure why I have not ever noticed the phrasing of Luke’s account of what took place in the Garden of Gethsemane before, but why the disciples fell asleep, becomes far more relate-able somehow. The disciples had every reason to be grieving, for they had shared their final meal with Jesus, heard His last words of wisdom, sung their last hymn together, and then heard that one among them would betray Him and another would deny Him… That is some serious heaviness to hold. How often do we find ourselves in the same sort of space? There  are times that the grief is too great, and even as we try to pray, exhaustion takes over, and sleep finds a welcomed win. The disciples, though Jesus had told them what would take place, could likely not wrap their hearts and minds around it all. They were in the throes of the suffering and sorrow-filled part, and could not yet see the glorious hope that would come after the horror Jesus was about to endure. Incredibly, Jesus continued to pray. When Judas and his entourage of Sanhedrin and soldiers arrived to have Jesus arrested, Jesus continued to love as He healed the ear that an over-zealous disciple cut off in His defense. He went willingly, without argument nor needed force, for love led Him to the cross at Calgary.
I paused writing to go run, and ended up having a great discussion about the potential disparity between the four accounts of the disciples’ time in the garden. My running bestie is a nurse, so she reminded me that Luke was a doctor. Between us, we recognized that the other accounts were recorded by fishermen, who likely felt bad for falling asleep, and simply recorded that alone. Luke, however, from a physician’s standpoint, was the most likely to recognize the toll that grief and sorrow take on the body, and reported the occurrence accordingly. Like me, she had not ever noticed the difference in the accounts of what took place, but together, we discussed how it indeed made sense. Many of us find ourselves in a similar space of grief or sorrow. There is loss that we are uncertain how to process, and that weighs heavily, no matter how much we pray. Perhaps this forced slow down season is meant for more than just protecting ourselves from the further spread of a pandemic; maybe, just maybe, this is a season where we are to allow our bodies to sleep when we can fight it no longer, rest up, reflect on what truly matters, and rise up renewed and refreshed, as Jesus carried it all for us and rose again. May we give ourselves grace in our moments of sorrow, grief and exhaustion, and look to the Lord who is the One who strengthens, renews and grants us what we need to rise up restored, once again.
In grief’s heaviness,

The Weight of Grief

Sculpture by Celeste Roberge

We’re burdened and worn;
Exhausted and spent,
In sorrow, forlorn.
Our bodies in need,
Of overdue rest;
Sometimes a shut down,
When sleep is the best.
God knows all our needs,
He loves us with grace;
Refreshes, renews,
And brings brighter days.
Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us Your goodness and grace, even in humanity’s most exhausted spaces. Thank You that You love us back to life again, even when our weariness from loss steals our resolve to rise and fight. Forgive us for thinking that we can somehow power through things without giving room for grief. Teach us to lean into You to show us how to properly process, rest and rise again in all that You are calling us to do. Lead us to love others well, so that their burdens may be lessened and their sorrow’s shortened. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we come to You in our heaviness and seek You for rest and refreshment as You restore and renew us in You. Amen.
My soul is weary with sorrow; strengthen me according to Your word. – Psalm 119:28

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Clean the Inside of the Cup

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside will also be clean.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, NIV)

“It will be bad for you teachers of the law and you Pharisees! You are hypocrites! You wash clean the outside of your cups and dishes. But inside they are full of what you got by cheating others and pleasing yourselves. Pharisees, you are blind! First make the inside of the cup clean and good. Then the outside of the cup will also be clean.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, ERV)

“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You burnish the surface of your cups and bowls so they sparkle in the sun, while the insides are maggoty with your greed and gluttony. Stupid Pharisee! Scour the insides, and then the gleaming surface will mean something.” – (Matthew 23:25-26, MSG)

 

On the Tuesday of Holy Week, Jesus began His day, departing Bethany with the disciples. As they were leaving, they passed by the fig tree He had cursed, only to discover it had completely withered. That point of passage began a day filled with teaching, as Jesus started with a lesson on faith. He further taught several parables and answered important questions as people gathered in the temple to hear. The Pharisees, up to their usual attempt at trapping Jesus in some sort of misstep for which they could arrest Him, began a barrage of questions as well. After Jesus brilliantly answered, and completely silenced the scholars with His wisdom, He began a list of woes to them for the practices that they were participating in. One that stood out to me as particularly poignant, and one to ponder personally, is that which is found in the above listed verses from Matthew 23. What does it mean to clean the outside of the cup, but neglect cleaning the inside? To me, it seems He was using the image as an illustration of the heart versus how things appear. We must attend to the motives, desires and purposes within us to be considered clean. For if we seek the Lord and allow Him room to purify our hearts and cleanse us from within, the outside reflects the beauty on the inside. It does not work in reverse. I imagine we have all met or known someone who at first, appeared quite appealing. However, once the heart was made known, the ugly insides tainted the perspective on the outside. Jesus cares about the condition of our heart. Yes, wash your hands, for at least twenty seconds please, but really, it is what flows out of us that impacts those around us, not the package that holds our hearts. My take away today is to seek the Lord and ask Him to show me what filth within me still needs cleansing. We all have spots that get missed, or manage to lie hidden out of plain sight. Jesus is gentle and kind when we choose to seek Him with the hope of being cleansed to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. Lord, cleanse us from the inside out, so that Your love may be made abundantly clear, and no good thing withheld from those in need.

 

Lord, come and show us, Clean the Inside of the Cup

Where we need be cleansed;

Point out the places,

Help us make amends.

Places we’re selfish,

Greedy or unkind;

Over-indulgent,

Show us what You find.

By Your loving grace,

Show us how to change;

Be cleansed from within,

So Your love may reign.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You sent Your Son to show us the way to be cleansed from the inside out. Thank You that not only did You clean the temple, but You are willing to clean the hollows of our heart. Forgive us for the times that we have worried more about “appearances” than being cleansed on the inside. Teach us to fix our eyes and heart on You and what You ask of us. Show us how to love selflessly, without greed, gluttony or reservation. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we seek You to show us the ways to wash ourselves within, so that we may shine bright, reflecting Your love to all whom we encounter. Amen.

 

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

 

Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your unfailing love; according to Your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. – Psalm 51:1-2

 

 

Triumphant Entry

A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds went ahead of Him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Hosanna in the highest heaven!” – (Matthew 21:8-9, NIV)

On the way to Jerusalem, many people spread their coats on the road for Jesus. Others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Some of the people were walking ahead of Jesus. Others were walking behind Him. They all shouted, “Praise to the Son of David!” ‘Welcome! God bless the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Praise to God in heaven!” – (Matthew 21:8-9, ERV)

Then an exceptionally large crowd gathered and carpeted the road before Him with their cloaks and prayer shawls. Others cut down branches from trees to spread in His path. Jesus road in the center of the procession – crowds going before Him and crowds coming behind Him, and they all shouted, “Bring the victory, Lord, Son of David! He comes with the blessings of being sent from the Lord Yahweh! We celebrate with praises to God in the highest!” – (Matthew 21:8-9, TPT)

 

This portion of the road to Easter story, never ceases to amaze me. It is difficult to wrap my mind around a huge crowd throwing their coats and palm branches on the road before Jesus, so that He would cross before them on a space that recognized and acknowledged His significance as they shouted out the truth of who He was, only to have a mob mentality less than a week later, to have Him crucified. Further in the passage, the crowd follows Jesus to the temple and He continues to teach and heal and love as He had always done. Imagine His perspective as Jesus rode into Jerusalem. He knew what was coming, yet He chose to enter into town. In our broken humanity, we likely would have questioned the crowd or looked upon them with a lesser love, knowing where the week was going. However, Jesus, in His perfect love, likely took in every face and chose love all the more. He could have turned and ridden right back out of town, and no one would have questioned Him. Jesus entered with purpose, on purpose, and did not deter from He knew He had to do. Love for all of humanity drove Him; love for each one of us, individually, kept Him there. May we turn our hearts and minds to Christ, the risen King, as we enter into this most sacred and surreal Easter week. He is good, and His love endures for all time.

 

Triumphant entry, Palm Sunday

The crowds shouted praise;

All glory to God,

Through sayings they raised.

They made a clear path,

For Christ to ride in;

Such honor granted,

Holy week begins.

Imagine seeing,

The One they foretold;

Passing before you,

A sight to behold.

Help us to take pause,

Reflect and recall;

The great magnitude,

Your entry for all.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You sent Your one and only Son to make the way for us to be restored back to life with You. Thank You that in this season of so much unsettled and unknown, You have settled and You know. Thank You for Your love that entered in, despite the horrendous weight that You were chosen to bear on our behalf. Forgive us for not taking time to pause and reflect on the holiness of this season. Teach us to have a greater grasp of what You have done for us so that we might know love and life abundant in You. Show us how to love others with the same tenacity that You have as You choose to love each of us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we reflect, remember and rejoice in the incredible sacrifice that You made so that we would have abundant life in You. Amen.

 

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

 

Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens. – Psalm 68:19

Before All Things and In All Things

He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. – (Colossians 1:17, NIV)

The Son was there before anything was made. And all things continue because of Him. – (Colossians 1:17, ERV)

He existed before anything was made, and now everything finds completion in Him. – (Colossians 1:17, TPT)

 

There are times when particular groups of people are joined together for a season, that the reality of this verse is made tangible. I am always in awe when beautifully diverse groups of people come together for a common purpose, and grow close in the process. This winter, as I participated in my first season as a high school assistant gymnastics coach, I have had the pleasure of witnessing and participating in such a fantastic unfolding as this team has bonded and had a season that has far exceeded their own expectations. Last night, the ladies competed at the state gymnastics meet as a team. To qualify, they had an undefeated regular season, were among the top teams at sub-districts, and again found themselves on the podium as a team at the state-qualifying district meet. There were personal bests and disappointments, a moment of terror as a girl went down during her floor routine, (thankfully only sustaining what would be a relatively minor injury and she should good as new in a day or two) and one of our seniors qualified for the finals later today on the floor exercise. All of the girls celebrated the successes with those who achieved something they had been working for, comforted those who did not perform as well as they had hoped, and gathered around the young lady who was injured to be certain she was okay, extending comfort and care. All in all, it has been just such a season that reminds me that He goes before all things and holds all things together. I am beyond blessed to have been a part of it, and cannot wait to continue coaching with the returning underclassmen. May we all look for the ways that God makes His presence evident, as He has gone before us, and He holds all things together.

 

Before all that is,wp-1582384037844602029485298511295.jpg

The Lord always was;

With good things in mind,

Because He loves us.

Always He is near,

Wherever we go;

Whatever we do,

His presence made known.

We need only look,

In wonder, shall see;

The power of love,

God grants you and me.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You love us so much that You prepare time and space for us. Thank You that You bless us with the people whom we are surrounded with in different seasons of our lives. Forgive us for the times that we take the gifts for granted. Teach us to appreciate each person and each season, as You show us Your heart and grow us more to reflect Your heart to others if we rely on You. Show us how to lean into You, so that we would love well, all those whom we interact with each day. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we praise and honor You for who You are and how You love. Amen.

 

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

 

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. – Hebrews 10:24

Deeply Planted and Nourished

Ezekiel 47:1-12 New International Version (NIV)

The River From the Temple

47 The man brought me back to the entrance to the temple, and I saw water coming out from under the threshold of the temple toward the east (for the temple faced east). The water was coming down from under the south side of the temple, south of the altar. He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side.

As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep. He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waist. He measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross. He asked me, “Son of man, do you see this?”

Then he led me back to the bank of the river. When I arrived there, I saw a great number of trees on each side of the river. He said to me, “This water flows toward the eastern region and goes down into the Arabah, where it enters the Dead Sea. When it empties into the sea, the salty water there becomes fresh. Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live. 10 Fishermen will stand along the shore; from En Gedi to En Eglaim there will be places for spreading nets. The fish will be of many kinds—like the fish of the Mediterranean Sea. 11 But the swamps and marshes will not become fresh; they will be left for salt. 12 Fruit trees of all kinds will grow on both banks of the river. Their leaves will not wither, nor will their fruit fail. Every month they will bear fruit, because the water from the sanctuary flows to them. Their fruit will serve for food and their leaves for healing.”

 

Today marks the twenty-first day of a twenty-one day time of intentionally seeking the Lord. Together, with many others in my church, we have been following a specific reading plan for each day. Though following a daily devotional reading plan is part of my daily practice, I am in the habit of moving on to another passage or reading further until I find something that stands out, in order to reflect and do my writing. However, today, I felt challenged to sit in my struggle; to find some sort of simplicity in a seemingly complex text. Immediately as I read the passage, it felt as though it were an allegory for me to unpack. The commentary I read pertaining to this passage, pointed to Christ as the temple from whom healing waters flow. His Spirit in us lends itself to touching more and more lives wherever we go, bringing life where it was formerly absent. As we invest our lives in Him, good fruit is produced, and others are nourished. We will not wither if we stay firmly rooted in our Source. My simplistic summary is merely scratching the surface on all the promise this passage holds. For a more in-depth look, here is the link: https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/ezekiel/47.html May we ever stay rooted and established in Christ, the true Source of living water, so that we may bring life and goodness wherever we go.

 

The Temple on high, Deeply Planted and Nourished

From where healing flows;

The more that we seek,

The greater it grows.

His vast love cleanses,

Brings new life again;

Hope to the hopeless,

Grace comes flooding in.

Where we are flooded,

There is overflow;

So much more to give,

To make His love known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You are the Temple from where healing waters flow. Thank You that Your love floods our hearts, minds and entire beings when we seek and stay firmly planted in You. Forgive us for allowing our roots to grow shallow so that we have little to offer. Teach us to stay deeply planted in You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that allow Your goodness, nourishment and healing to flood them too. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we continue to pursue a life deeply planted and nourished in You. Amen.

 

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

 

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. – Ephesians 3:17-18

 

 

Called to Be Light

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” – (Matthew 5:14-15, NIV)

“You are the light that shines for the world to see. You are like a city built on a hill that cannot be hidden. People don’t hide a lamp under a bowl. They put it on a lamp stand. Then the light shines for everyone in the house.” – (Matthew 5:14-15, ERV)

“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine!” – (Matthew 5:14-15, MSG)

 

When we come into a relationship with Jesus, we discover that we are called and created to be His light in the world. The love that He deposits in us is meant to be shared as it illuminates through us. As we allow God room to move and transform, the more clearly His heart can be made known through our words, deeds and existence. Not one of us was created to live in isolation, but rather to be invested in a community where we can live and love in such a way, that His heart is shared and He is glorified through how we live. I imagine we all can think of examples of those who shine so brightly, that others cannot help but be drawn to the loving light that they exude wherever they go. May we walk so closely with God that His love within us, shines through us, as we live and love each day that we draw breath.

 

We’re called to be light,

wp-15793587109953212378564539317630.jpg

Photo by Dee Jones of Open Door Photography

To make God’s love known;

Through our words and deeds,

May His light be shown.

The more that we soak,

In God’s holy space;

The more we reflect,

His love and His grace.

Choose walk with the Lord,

Seek His face to shine;

Reach out and love well,

Intended design.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that You call us to be Your light unto the world. Thank You that You do not desire for any of us to live hidden or in isolation, but to be present and illuminate Your love to those around us. Thank You that Your love within us is greater than the darkness around us. Forgive us for attempting to be hidden or to isolate ourselves when You call us to be invested and present. Teach us to trust the power of Your love to light our way. Show us how to love like You, so that we may shine brightly wherever we go and bless all those whom we encounter. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we allow Your light to shine through our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in Me should stay in darkness.” – John 12:46

Poetry Lived Out

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. – (James 1:22, NIV)

Do what God’s teaching says; don’t just listen and do nothing. When you only sit and listen, you are fooling yourselves. – (James 1:22, ERV)

Don’t just listen to the Word of Truth and not respond to it, for that is the essence of self-deception. So always let His Word become like poetry written and fulfilled by your life! – (James 1:22, TPT)

 

If we listen to God’s Word and know the truth of who we are and what we are called to do, but choose to neglect to walk it out, we are deceiving ourselves and creating a void that was intended to be filled by our obedience to God’s leading. However, as we seek after the Lord and pursue a life lived out according to His purposes, “His Word becomes like poetry written and fulfilled by our lives.” I know that I would much prefer to be like poetry than deceive myself. Listening to His Word is not a “one-and-done” situation. Each time we spend time in His Word, He uses it to transform our hearts and minds to become more like His. God opens our understanding and refines us to more clearly reflect His heart to the world. Each time we invest time in His Word, we have to choose to allow the Lord to speak to our hearts so that we can adjust according to His leading. This refining process is lifelong. Not one of us ever “arrives”. The more we listen, the more apt we are to act according to His will, rather than our own. May we all go beyond simply hearing the Word of Truth, boldly stepping out in obedience to become more of who we are called to be as we reflect the radiance of our Redeemer’s love and light to the world around us.

 

For we are all called,Listen to Learn to Love

To hear the Lord’s word;

Not just to know it,

But act on what’s heard.

As we choose take in,

The Word of the Lord;

He shows us the way,

To walk in accord.

When we walk with Him,

His love light will show;

Through our words and deeds,

As His good’s made known.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word. Thank You that You teach, refine and lead us as we listen to and act on what You instruct through Your Word. Forgive us for the times that we have heard and known what is good and pleasing in Your sight, but chose to either do nothing, or go a different direction. Teach us to trust You more, so that we would listen and act upon Your leading. Show us how to love those around us in tangible and practical ways. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we obey what You say, and trust You to provide all that we need to do all that You ask. Amen.

 

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

 

Let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance. -Proverbs 1:5

 

Choose Reach Out

“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.” – (Isaiah 58:6-8, NIV)

“I will tell you the kind of day I want – a day to set people free. I want a day that you take the burdens off others. I want a day when you set troubled people free and you take the burdens from their shoulders. I want you to share your food with the hungry. I want you to find the poor who don’t have homes and bring them into your own homes. When you see people who have no clothes, give them your clothes! Don’t hide from your relatives when they need help. If you do these things, your light will begin to shine like the light of dawn. Then your wounds will heal. Your “Goodness” will walk in front of you, and the Glory of the Lord will come following behind you.” – (Isaiah 58:6-8, ERV)

 

The foundation of what God asks of us has always been the same – Love God and love people. If we are fasting, let it be for the purpose of actively pursuing God and loving people. If we are praying, may it be out of faith in our Father and our desire to do good for others. As we live, may our lives clearly demonstrate our love for God and for ALL whom He has created. There are no qualifiers on loving people; He calls us to love all people tangibly and practically. If they are burdened; help carry the weight and set them free. If people are hungry; feed them. If people are in need of the basic requirements for existence; start with clothing and shelter. Furthermore, we are meant to be aware of and care for the needs of our family as well. Incredibly, as we do these things, we begin to reflect the heart of God to those around us. Our obedience leads to blessings in our own lives too. He heals and surrounds each soul that chooses to surrender and serve others as He asks. May we look to the Lord for wisdom and strength, so that we go forth and tangibly love people as an extension of our love for Him.

 

May our focus be,

H182

Typography poster lettering love and ethnic patterns. Vector illustration hand drawn.

Intent on the Lord;

On what He’s asking,

As strength He affords.

The priority,

In all that we do;

Love God and people,

It’s what we’re called to.

Some practical ways,

His love can be shown;

Help meet other’s needs,

Leads to God’s heart known.

As we choose reach out,

God’s present within;

Healing and helping,

Makes hope rise again.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that a reason for fasting and praying is ultimately to love God and love people better. Thank You that You are faithful to meet us as we come and seek You. Thank You that Your word tells us practically how to love people well, and in turn, honor and love You. Forgive us for the times that we have neglected to love people well. Teach us to have eyes to see, ears to hear and hearts to understand what You would have us do practically in every circumstance. Thank You that You are far greater than our time, talent or resources, and that You take what we offer and multiply what we bring. Show us how to love the people around us tangibly, for You know every need in existence. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we choose to be intentional as we love You and love the people around us, every seeking You for ways to love practically and tangibly to meet needs. Amen.

 

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

 

Human, the Lord has told you what goodness is. This is what He wants from you: Be fair to other people. Love kindness and loyalty, and humbly obey your God. – Micah 6:8

To Wait and See

Simeon took Him in his arms and praised God, saying: “Sovereign Lord, as You have promised, You may now dismiss Your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen Your salvation, which You have prepared in the sight of all nations: a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of Your people Israel.” – (Luke 2:28-32, NIV)

Simeon took the baby in his arms and thanked God: “Now, Lord, You can let me, Your servant, die in peace as You said. I have seen with my own eyes how You will save Your people. Now all people can see Your plan. He is a light to show Your way to the other nations. And He will bring honor to Your people Israel.” – (Luke 2:28-32, ERV)

Simeon took Jesus into his arms and blessed God. Simeon: Now, Lord and King, You can let me, Your humble servant, die in peace. You promised me that I would see with my own eyes what I’m seeing now: Your freedom, raised up in the presence of all peoples. He is the light who reveals Your message to the other nations, and He is the shining glory of Your covenant people, Israel. – (Luke 2:28-32, VOICE)

 

After closely reading this passage several times in the various translations, I am quite curious to know more of Simeon’s story. Imagine receiving a promise from God that You would see, with your own eyes, the Savior of the world?! Additionally, based on the phrasing, I would venture to infer that Simeon had been holding fast to God’s promise for many years. My mind’s eye pictures a man of many years, as his words indicate that he is in the latter season of his life. One of the most incredible pieces to this story is that Simeon knew who Jesus was as he took Him into his arms to give God thanks. Did God give him divine insight, a word, a dream? Had the Lord foretold Simeon how Jesus’ coming would transpire, so that he would know the child as He was brought to the temple? Whatever the case may have been, Simeon knew, and he spoke it out before Mary and Joseph, granting them further insight into exactly who they would be raising as their son. As parents, there already is awe and wonder at the new life placed in our care. Imagine the whirlwind that likely filled their hearts as Mary and Joseph brought their baby boy to the temple and heard such incredible things about their son. A faith-filled blessing and an elated elderly man were likely the two things that the new parents would never forget about that time in the temple. That baby did grow and become the Light of the world and the way to salvation for all who choose believe. May we have a heart like Simeon as we recognize the powerful presence that came into the world that blessed holy night, so that we may all have life everlasting in Him.

 

Let’s look in wonder, Simeons Story

Reflect back in awe;

What God had promised,

Dear Simeon saw.

A heart that trusted,

What God had foretold;

Gifted the faithful,

In his arms to hold.

The Light of the world,

Promised Prince of Peace;

Messiah, Savior,

Salvation’s release.

What God promises,

Is truth that He keeps;

May we choose to trust,

Each word that He speaks.

Glory to the Lord,

From whom blessings flow;

All thanks unto Him,

As His love light shows.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the blessed gift of Your Son. Thank You Jesus, that You were willing to step down from Your heavenly throne and come into the world as an infant, so that You would know and understand intimately, the struggles we face; yet do so without sin so that You could offer salvation. Thank You for giving Your life so that we can have life everlasting with You. Forgive us for not making time to dig into Your word or ponder the truth that You speak to our hearts. Teach us to be intentional with our time. Show us how to live and love in a way that extends Your goodness and grace to all those around us. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we listen to You and lean into Your word, giving You thanks for Your faithfulness forever. Amen.

 

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

 

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in Him. – Psalm 34:8

Treasure the Blessings

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

Mary continued to think about these things, trying to understand them. – (Luke 2:19, ERV)

But Mary treasured all these things in her heart and often pondered what they meant. – (Luke 2:19, TPT)

 

Can you begin to fathom all that Mary had to hold in her heart and ponder? A young girl, most likely in her mid-teens, had been visited by an angel, conceived by the Holy Spirit, traveled some ninety miles to the city of David, discovered there were no rooms available, given birth in a barn, visited by shepherds who had been told of the Savior’s birth by an army of heavenly hosts singing praise, and there she was, left gazing at the face of God in her newborn infant son. What a crazy, wonderful, whirlwind of a journey to arrive at that space. I imagine there was great reassurance as the shepherds came near, after the young couple had been ostracized and rejected for Mary being with child out of wedlock. To treasure things is to hold them in great value, and it reveals to us even more, the heart of the young girl who was well-chosen to carry Christ and bring Him into the world. I love that God chooses ordinary people to do extraordinary things. By human standards, why one so young? However, God saw her heart. Mary was willing to walk the difficult road, despite not knowing where it would lead. She chose to say yes, understanding the risks involved in being with child as a virgin, and treasured the faithfulness of God each step of their journey. May we pause and ponder the power and presence of God in our own lives, and take time to treasure all of the times that we can testify of His goodness and faithfulness unto us.

 

Angelic visit, Treasure the Blessings

Hard to fathom news;

Called to carry Christ,

What would this girl do?

“Let your word be so,”

Her faithful reply;

With no thought for self,

Except perhaps, why.

For just a young girl,

With little to give;

A heart, so willing,

For Christ, she chose live.

It all came to pass,

As it was foretold;

Mary was with child,

A treasure to hold.

In meager stable,

Christ entered the earth;

Among the cattle,

The humble Lord’s birth.

Swaddled and set down,

Where animals fed;

It’s what Mary had,

For Jesus’ bed.

Army of angels,

Announced the Lord’s birth;

To nearby shepherds,

Who would see Him first.

So much to take in,

In awe and wonder;

Mary chose treasure,

Each step, to ponder.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for the incredible gift of Your Son, Jesus. Thank You that He lived and loved and grew in ordinary ways so that He would know and understand what we go through, personally. Thank You that He did all without sin in order to take all of ours upon Himself. Forgive us for not pausing to ponder all of the treasures we have in You. Teach us to slow down and reflect upon Your goodness, grace, love and light that floods our hearts and lives with evidence of You. Show us how to love those around us in ways that extend Your love, goodness and grace to all, so that they too may pause and ponder the treasures that You place in their lives. May many come into a lasting relationship with You. Be glorified O God, as we treasure the blessings and ponder the powerful ways You move in our lives. Amen.

 

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

 

Today the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. – Luke 2:11