Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – December 18, 2020
By Guest Writer: Jill Hooper
He will not allow your foot to slip; your Protector will not slumber. Behold, the Protector of Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper. Psalm 121:3-5
Sleeplessness is often caused by one of two things: our refusal to ask forgiveness of another person or our worry about the future. It’s probably happened to each of us at one time or another. We wake up and as we roll over, one itty bitty thought comes — often of regret or anxiety. At that moment we know we have hit the point of no return. Like the swirl-a-whirl at the fair, our thoughts begin to spin at full speed. The thoughts are flooding our minds as the opportunity for needed sleep dries up like chapped lips in the winter.
“How can I get our children to talk and share more? I’m not doing enough as a mom/ dad. Which bill should I try to pay down the most? I need to find a way to bring in some money for our family. I hurt my friend deeply, but I am too embarrassed to go ask forgiveness. Are the Christmas cookies for the school “swap” due today? Did the proposal I gave my boss impress enough? What was it he said in the sermon yesterday about motivation? Why can’t I get motivated? My poor friend with cancer… I need to be a better friend. Have I marked anything off my Christmas list completely? Sigh, all the while we are painfully aware that the next morning we will be off to an exhausted start… way too early and burdened by the circumstances of life and the self-blame and fear we might attach to them.
“‘Oh Holy Night,’ uh, not exactly. More like, “Oh Sleepless Night.” But like a rainbow over the torrent of thoughts, and the off switch to the dizzying ride at the fair, we hear, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10) His spirit calls us in the dark to see the light. And He calms us with His word, memory of a friend’s encouragement, or even a hymn. During this season the flash of that old Christmas hymn might move us to repent of our self-thoughts and think in a new direction as the beautiful lyrics replace the worries:
“…It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining, Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.”
That night, long ago, when the God of the universe was born in a barn, has the power to change all our ‘nights’ forever…He came, brought life, secured us in the shadow of His wings, brought a light yoke and bore our heavy one. In the darkness, dwelling “in our sin and errors,” we as His beloved children remind ourselves, He came and whispered the worth of our souls, our all, in Him, Emmanuel.
“A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!” (Lyrics by Placide Cappeau, 1843)
Sleeplessness turned to singing invites communion with the Savior. Still weary, for sure, but awakened by the hope of Christ in us, we know His mercies are new for us on the new and glorious following morn…even if it’s Monday.
“Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5).
God of wonder, God of light, You are also the God of night. You are with me in deep sleep and in restless fight. Remind me by Your Spirit to claim what’s mine when I can’t sleep: The knowledge that You are always with me, loving me and the peaceful mind set that you are always awake, watching over me and mine. By faith, I take hold of the peace You bought for me on the cross. In your name I pray, amen.
When restless, day or night, we can begin to praise God with song. We will experience His peace. God inhabits the praise of His people. (Psalm 22:3)
Start the new year with Boyd’s newest 365 day devotional book: Seeking God’s Heart
Peace isn’t experienced because of our effort to figure things out, it is ours by taking hold of the gift God has already given us—Himself.
5 minute video – Celine Dion
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