An honour to be bringing news of joy to the world

Christmas Carols are so evocative of childhood and the wonder of Christmas but they also tell in such an eloquent way of the true story of Christmas.  I have snatched some well-known lines in writing this one!!

O HOLY NIGHT

The night of Jesus birth I would imagine was anything but silent, the little town of Bethlehem overcrowded as thousands returned for the census, away from home, away from family, their baby born in humble surroundings, come to ransom captive Israel, to free us from Satan’s tyranny, he came for you and he came for me, holy night, a night like no other when a humble virgin became a Mother to the Son of God, this birth remarkable in its humility, born for an extraordinary destiny, no wonder the Herald Angels were singing, what an honour to be bringing news of joy to the world and to be honest if I was a shepherd watching my flock I would be pretty shocked if a heavenly host appeared in the sky singing peace on earth goodwill to men and there again if I saw a bright shining star would I follow it from lands afar bearing gifts which it could be disputed were hardly suited to a Mother and her new born baby, but maybe if I had been there I would have been wise and come to adore him, the child who was born, the son who was given, born that man no more may die and OK so I wasn’t there but I am here now and joyfully sing of the birth of the King, triumphantly proclaim his glorious birth, born to raise the sons of earth, born to give us second birth.

Another nativity, the Christmas story retold

Christmas is such a good time to spread the word of God.  We welcome into churches those who may not normally hear God’s word or it may be a time when we ourselves attend more services than normal.   Got me to thinking about wether we allow the Christmas story to “wash over” us with its familiarity or whether we are filled with praise and wonder everytime we revisit it?

  • Isaiah 30:15 – In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength
  • Isaiah 25:1 – Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name, for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things, things planned long ago.

 ANOTHER YEAR

Another year, another nativity, the Christmas story retold so all can see that God so loved the world he sent his son, but once the season’s done do we return to a life of detachment, has the story succeeded in shattering our indifference, have we listened and heard the word of God, has it penetrated our hard hearts, has the Christmas story demonstrated the glory of God and how badly does that make you want to turn around and stake your whole life on Jesus, turn away from the past, repent of your sin and truly rest in him, how much does the Christmas story make you want to exalt his name, praise his faithfulness, his love for humanity, to let his love shine brilliantly all year round, to be grounded in Jesus, God’s own son born as flesh, in repentance and rest is our salvation, in quietness and trust is our strength.

The Angel he had said do not fear

OK so Christmas is just around the corner and I have also been quite absorbed in the first few books of the New Testament and been reading about the birth of Jesus which has brought the Christmas story to my mind.   Just thought it would be fun to write something from Mary’s perspective:

MARY

Looking back it’s mad, I was going to have a baby, this was crazy how could it be, I mean I knew about the birds and the bees, I knew this could not be happening to me, what was I going to say to my Mum and Dad, and what were the lads going to say to Joseph when they started to notice my pregnancy, but the Angel he had said do not fear, listen to me, (and believe me that did not go down so well), yeah an Angel came and told me, they were never going to believe me, but see, here’s the bit that is so weird, I had no fear, I was not afraid cos God had chosen me, of all the girls he’d chosen me, Mary, the one to carry the Lord Jesus Christ within me, the one to hold him in my arms, to keep him from harm whilst he was just a tiny baby, he’d chosen me to be the earthly Mother of the one who would become the future Saviour of the world, my life had been turned upside down for the one who would wear a crown and I embraced that, I praised God for his grace and favour, I carried this child, raised him as best I could to become Son of Man, the Son of God who then died on a cross to save us, I cannot bear to think of that right now, his inevitable death, the pain and sorrow I bore as I watched my child die, crucified, part of me died that day as I watched his life ebb away, no Mother should be subject to that outrage yet for me it was kind of a double edged sword cos I knew he was the Lord of heaven and earth, right since his birth I knew that he held life and death in his hands, that God had plans and I knew that if this didn’t happen there would be no happy ending, no chance of victory over the enemy and I wanted it to be some other way but  this was God’s day and what I didn’t know right then was how he’d come back to life again,  three days later my Jesus was absent from the tomb, he had defeated sin, he’d beaten Satan yet again and this time it was permanent, and whilst those three days were pretty turbulent for all of us, when we heard that Jesus had risen my heart quickened, he had fulfilled his destiny, he was the key and we were now free, not just my friends and family but all of humanity who were and are and are to come and suddenly it hit me just what my son had done.

Prepare for the Best

So it’s Christmas Day and feel a real desire to spend time in God’s presence today.  My reading this morning was Matthew 3 – John the Baptist prepares the way which also referenced Isaiah 40:3

 A voice of one calling in the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God

Was thinking about preparing a way for the Lord and really interpreted it my way which is what can I do to prepare others for God, for his word and his presence in their life and it seems allowing Jesus to flood me with the best and the Holy Spirit to dwell in me is how I will be transformed and my transformation will enable me to witness to others, a real and true witness, actions and deeds changed, my life revolutionised.  I desire this so much, I know I have some way to go to change thought patterns and behaviour patterns but feel today that God is showing me that it will happen, he is working in me all the time and the more time I spend with him, the greater the work he can do in me and the quicker my transformation will be.

Happy Christmas!

Ask the Holy Spirit to prepare us for the best

Just as John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus we too can ask the Holy Spirit to prepare us for the best and it seems relevant on Christmas Day to recognise that the greatest gift we can claim, even greater than the baby who came to save us, is the presence of God himself in us, taking the promise of Emmanuel, God with us and recognising that John the Baptist invited us not to be religious but to be totally and utterly transformed, repent, turn around, revolutionise your heart, thoughts and choices, turn away from ungodly thoughts and patterns of behaviour, for the Saviour who is Christ the Lord wants you to become a world changer, experience a transformed life, God is with you, God lives in you, he has prepared a path for you, Lord change me from the inside out, may I not seek to conform to the patterns of this world for I am transformed by your death on the Cross and I repent, I know that the Kingdom of heaven is near, I repent and have no need to fear, for as I received the baptism of water so then I received the baptism of fire so here’s the question, do you desire God’s presence?  Do you want Emmanuel, God to be with you, if you do invite the fire of his Spirit to blaze in your heart as you celebrate Jesus’s birth, Jesus who comes with the Holy Spirit and with fire, oh Holy child of Bethlehem make straight our paths we pray, use today as a time of transition to create a transformation in us, may we come to the end of self, stop interfering with your work, stop following the crowd, step out of the mold, may we long for so much more and may our trust be in the Lord who owns the skies yet still wants our hearts and let’s face it we’ll never influence the world by trying to be like it, as we are made new our very character changes and we do not want to go backwards in our story, so this Christmas and for ever more may we be constantly changing, transformed by your presence and glory

I reflect on how long I was searching for a Saviour

I thought I wasn’t going to blog about Christmas again however I have been doing the Bible Society’s Advent Challenge and today’s challenge is to read the Christmas Story and share with others what it means to me.  Having been to a Carol Service last night I had already been reflecting on the way home how amazing the story is when you see it from a Christian perspective and how this year my whole view is changing, Christmas now a personal celebration between me and God, a thank you to him for his generous and undeserved gift.

So thinking more, this is what I have written in response to what Christmas means to me:

UNDERSTANDING CHRISTMAS

OK so the person who stands out for me in the Christmas story is Mary, like who would want to be in her situation to have the hope of nations resting on your obedience, to make sense out of a message that must have terrified her, all her hopes and dreams on hold because an Angel told her she was to have a baby, really, how difficult would that be to tell your husband to be, we’re having a baby and he’s going to be called Jesus, you get the thrust, Mary had blind faith and trust, she heard what was said, OK with some dread in her heart no doubt, but then she felt the love of God, and that shows me that no matter what God asks me to do, I must be true to him, to trust and obey, to go the way he asks me to so that I can play my part in his story, I too can give him the glory so I strive to be more like Mary, to have a mighty faith, to trust beyond question, to obey God and follow his direction.

But other things make me sit up and take notice, this birth was because God was devoted to us, this birth was something to make a fuss about, when else have Angels declared Glory to God in the highest on a hillside to shepherds, this was unprecedented, God’s message declared in magnificence yet Jesus was not born to extravagance, not born in a palace or castle, not born in dazzling surroundings with all the trappings of princes and kings, Jesus was born in a lowly place, a space for animals to shelter yet what could be sweeter for the human race than a leader born to show his grace, a leader sent from God to spread his word, to live among us, so as the shepherds heard the Angel’s glad tidings so I find myself listening for God’s message to me and rejoicing that through his grace I am free.

And then I think about the wise men travelling for months in search of the one, searching for a Saviour and not resting until they found the baby in a manger and then I reflect on how long I was searching for a Saviour, how he never gave up on me, his gift of life meant for me was still available and OK I didn’t find him in a stable but I found him ready and waiting I found a loving God who remains with me on my journey of discovery and that tells me so much more than I could imagine, I have only seen a fraction of what God can do for me, and now I take time to seek him out to see what God wants to do through me, to serve him in totality.

So the Christmas story teaches me that nothing is impossible with God, nothing is beyond the realms of possibility and so my life can be whatever he wants it to be, I am open to receive from him but there is one more thing that I have learnt, we weren’t left on our own, God gives us help and tools to grow and as Mary went to Elizabeth so we need to mentor each other in our walk with the Lord, so we need to share in his word, to pray together, support each other so I praise God for the number of people he’s put in my path who provide love, guidance, teaching and advice, I praise God that he paid the price for my sins, praise God that he has all things in his control and praise God this Christmas that through his great mercy I am made whole.

God has a plan and his timing was different

Reading the Christmas story and something jumped out at me, so Herod moved quickly against this new baby boy, just showing me that the enemy knew what a threat this move was by God, he did not want Jesus to survive, but Hey Good News our God is great and we all know the story…

Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given

It’s Christmas, you know how it goes, a baby born in a stable, angels, wise men, shepherds and a manger, but less talked about was the King who sensed danger and ordered the murder of all baby boys under two, Herod’s decree shows how quickly the enemy jumped into action, his reaction to Jesus coming to earth, kill him, prevent him from becoming a man, stop him from achieving God’s amazing plan, but he failed. He failed because God’s love prevailed, God is a winner and God came for sinners to show the ordinary man in the street that he too can meet the criteria to live with a King in heaven, to unshroud the mystery of life in perpetuity, to offer comfort, joy and good news to those who choose to listen and believe, God wasn’t against Jesus dying but as with everything God has a plan and his timing was different, Jesus needed sufficient time here with us so he could teach us, leave his disciples to reach out and touch hearts and lives, so Jesus didn’t die as a baby yet who would conceive that this baby was going on an amazing journey that would culminate with him dying on a cross, going to the grave and rising again after three days, who would have known that he alone was going to carry the worry and sin of humanity on his shoulders as he sacrificed his life for us, even Mary and Joseph who had seen great stuff had met Angels and listened to incredible things had no idea of what was coming despite prophecies from the past, only God knew the whole story, only God has our history and our destiny in his hands, God plans, he is a planner he is the author of your biography, he sent Jesus so you would be free to over achieve, to become everything he planned you to be so this Christmas I see more clearly how dearly God loves us and it’s amazing the stuff you see each time you read the Christmas story, God is glory, God is love, God sent his son so we could have peace and joy all this because of one baby boy.

Seriously he brings us joy and peace not just at Christmas

Was reading something this morning about the Christmas story and how it is a story of a miracle that offers salvation as well as purpose, hope and grace, comfort, joy for those who seek and believe – found it to be really thought provoking sometimes too easy to forget the real purpose of the nativity – I have referenced some Bible verses below.

The Miracle Isaiah 9:6 – For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given

Purpose Luke 4 18 – ‘The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free

Hope and Grace John 3 16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life

Comfort– Psalm 147:3 – He heals the broken-hearted and binds up their wounds.

Joy – Nehemiah 8:10 The joy of the Lord is your strength 

Believe and Seek – Hebrews 11:6 Anyone who comes to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

The Christmas story

Miraculous, full of purpose, hope and grace, comfort and joy for those who seek and believe, for unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, a miracle from heaven and he shall be called wonderful, his birth full of purpose, his objective deliverance and the Lord has anointed us to proclaim good news to the poor, to proclaim freedom for those shamed and imprisoned, to give sight to the blind and to set the oppressed free, that is why he was born in a stable, that is how I am able to seize the hope and grace that God’s gift offers me, hope and grace summed up by his amazing sacrifice, for God so loved the world he sent his only son, a sacrifice for whoever believes in him, not a selected crew, a select few but whomever believes shall not die but live forever he never meant for us to suffer but through the plans of the enemy the human race fell, hell became a reality for those who failed to see that the miracle of Christmas, God’s amazing gift for us is real, freely given with purpose and reason, the Christmas season simply serves as a reminder of our brighter tomorrow, when his comfort will wipe out all sorrow, he will heal the broken hearted and bind up their wounds, revealing to all physical, mental and spiritual healing, relief from the pressures of our human frailty, Jesus came as a baby to bring joy and cheer, he is here now and the joy of the Lord is our strength, we are victorious in Jesus, seriously he brings us joy and peace not just at Christmas but all through the year, so have no fear do not be afraid, believe in him and you are saved, seek to know him, seek to find him, anyone who comes to him and believes in his existence and the reality of the baby growing up to be our Saviour has understood the greater story behind the nativity, God gave his son to set you free so you can see what the miracle of Christmas really is, God’s purpose can be achieved in your life through hope and grace he gives comfort and joy for those who believe and seek his face.