Merry Christmas to All

In case your heart got distracted today by trivial things, or selfish things, or hard things, or painful things, read the words of the Lord and take comfort once again. For good news of great joy has come for all people. Good news of great joy has come for you

But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.

2 The people who walked in darkness
    have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
    on them has light shone.
3 You have multiplied the nation;
    you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
    as with joy at the harvest,
    as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
4 For the yoke of his burden,
    and the staff for his shoulder,
    the rod of his oppressor,
    you have broken as on the day of Midian.
5 For every boot of the tramping warrior in battle tumult
    and every garment rolled in blood
    will be burned as fuel for the fire.
6 For to us a child is born,
    to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
    and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and of peace
    there will be no end,
on the throne of David and over his kingdom,
    to establish it and to uphold it
with justice and with righteousness
    from this time forth and forevermore.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

(Isaiah 9:1-7)

_______

 

     Isaiah 9      

Almost Christmas

On this eve of Christmas night
A star was shining bold and bright,
Leading wisemen to the sight
That gave all men such great delight.
The coming king who was proclaimed,
Immanuel would be his name.
“God with us” in cradle here,
The whole world’s joy to now appear.

______

     Luke 2      

The Fruit of Forbearance

May the waiting and forbearance
required in this life
produce in me
the trust, joy, faith, and steadiness
that leads to everlasting fruit.
And may the sacrifices required of me
(the sacrifices that pale in comparison to the One who came before),
and the knowledge that He who went before me
suffered more,
endured more,
beared more patiently,
grieved more deeply, 
and loved more fully,
encourage me in the day of doubting,
strengthen me in the day of fearing,
and save me when destruction sits at the doorstep.
May all the promises of God made complete through Christ
lead me confidently toward the throne. 

_______

     Hebrews 4       James 1      

We Need Each Other

O, that we would be kin in that barren tract of land
between hopingandbelieving
where each tested step labors
onwardandonwardandonward-
justone
pace
more,
just
o
n
e
m
o
r
e-
until a man rests his brother on solid shoulders
when one pace more becomes one too many,
when the soft crunch of half a footstep
echoes like a death knell
in a wilderness of confusion;
until a woman rests her sister in strong arms
when one pace more becomes one too many,
when the incapacitating dehydration of pursuit
feels like a mortal blow
in a desert of despair;
giving sight to eyes that cannot see,
melody to ears deaf to lively tones,
hope to hands that cannot hold it,
and peace to feet that worry the floor of faith,
these brothers of comfort
these sisters of grace
hold and plead and grieve and love
until new mercies feel like new miracles
and old faith feels like true faith
that stands unwavering
in that new and living hope of ages, 
secure and complete-
glorious in sacrifice,
familial in invitation,
and enduring forever against
the wretchedness and capitulation
of man’s wandering affections.

_______

     Ephesians 3-6       Hebrews 3, 10-12