“Be present in the presence of Christ in prayer and He will repair your heart and restore your soul.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 24, 2021
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
Anticipation is a gift from God. We anticipate seeing people we love. We anticipate vacations. We anticipate receiving or giving gifts. We anticipate completing our college education and starting a career. We anticipate meeting the love of our life, marriage, sexual intimacy and a child. We anticipate our children loving Jesus, maturing, making wise decisions and providing the best gift ever—grandbabies! Anticipation can seem forever or it can be over before we know it. Without our ability to anticipate, life can become boring, even a drudgery. But the gift of looking forward to good things motivates us to be hopeful, to carry on in love and obedience.
Joy and laughter are some of the emotions I feel, as I reflect on our children and grandchildren performing as shepherds in their annual church/school Christmas play. But a much bigger narrative was transpiring, as God chose lowly shepherds to be the first missionaries to share Jesus! Nobodies were the first to know. The shepherds were given a sneak peek into the birth of their Savior and Messiah. For centuries they had anticipated His coming, but now in the fullness of God’s timing—it was about to be fulfilled. The shepherds illustrated the role of Christ as the Great Shepherd coming to care for His flock. A shepherd for the rich and poor—and all in between—an all-inclusive love for the somebodies and the nobodies. A love anticipated!
“He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth” (Micah 5:4).
Have you given yourself the gift of anticipation this Christmas season? What are you anticipating from your heavenly Father? With humble trust, you can look forward to good outcomes out of a bad situation. When you are in the middle of a fire it’s hard, maybe impossible to see the burning away of unhealthy qualities, like the need to have your way—replaced by faith in a better way. In silence and solitude, look for the flickering light of God’s love and follow, not knowing for sure where you are going, but knowing the Lord is good. Move closer to your Savior and Shepherd, Jesus—hear His voice. Softly and tenderly, He is calling you into an intimate love of rest and joy. Recall Jesus’ words, My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.
Be kind to yourself at Christmas, stop striving in your own strength and harness the Holy Spirit’s power. Be present in the presence of Christ in prayer and He will repair your heart and restore your soul. I like how Richard Rohr reminds us to recognize in prayer the ongoing reality of God’s love and goodness: The purpose of prayer and religious seeking is to see the truth about Reality, to see what is. And at the bottom of what is, is always goodness. The foundation is always love. Here is a mantra that we might repeat throughout our day: “God’s life is living itself in me. I am aware of life living itself in me.” Anticipate, God is all and in all!
Heavenly Father, I anticipate the presence of your love and goodness in my life this Christmas season, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.
What good gift from the Lord can I anticipate going into the new year?
Home Free: Angels We Have Heard On High
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