Gracefully Truthful

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Read His Words Before Ours!

Isaiah 61:1-3
Matthew 2:1-12
Luke 1:78-79
Philippians 2:5-8

O holy night!
The stars are brightly shining.
(O Holy Night)

Those words conjure up a beautiful image of peace, but, as I come to pray, my mind is whirling.
So many worries compete for my attention.
Increasing work responsibilities, my friend’s mental health, challenges at church… the list goes on.

The last couple of months have been full of relentless change and upheaval, and significant uncertainty remains about the future. When I stop to consider it all, it’s far too easy for anxiety to take control.

God, help me to lift my eyes, to look beyond the troubles I see around me to focus on You (2 Corinthians 4:18). Remind me that You are with me, You care, and You are sovereign over all things. Thank You that I don’t need to carry these anxieties by myself, but I can cast them onto You. (1 Peter 5:6-7)

“Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
till He appeared,
and the soul felt its worth.” 

Thank You that You are not a distant God, removed from our struggles, but in Jesus’ earthly arrival, You drew near in physical form like never before. Knowing You value humanity, You value me, enough to enter into the mess of this broken world, truly stirs “a thrill of hope,” and joy, even in the weariness.

“Fall on your knees.”

The only appropriate response is worship, bowing before You in humble surrender, acknowledging You are God and we are not, turning our faces to seek You and honour You.

We see such worship in the example of the wise men, “led by light of a star sweetly gleaming,” travelling many miles to bring their gifts of worship, refusing to give up until they found You.

May I be as fervent and committed in seeking You. While I may not have the light of a star, the light of  Your Word guides my path, shows me who You are (Psalm 119:105), and reveals the amazing truth: 

“The King of Kings lay thus in lowly manger.

 It is mind-blowing to consider You humbled Yourself to enter Your own creation as a helpless baby. Even more amazing, You chose a criminal’s death on a cross, though You were blameless, as a sacrifice for us in order to offer us total forgiveness and rescue from eternal death. (Philippians 2:5-8)

In Your loving sacrifice and victorious resurrection, we find the hope we so deeply crave. Righteousness and peace are not achieved by our own efforts or striving, but through grace, in You

“In all our trials born to be our friend.”

As we walk through the challenges of life, we can know we are never alone, because You are with us. Since You have experienced the joys and sorrows of human life, we can come to You confidently knowing You understand. Yet as King of Kings, we can also approach, knowing You have power to transform our mess, to bring order to our chaos, hope to our weariness, peace to our anxious minds.

“Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.”

As we have experienced Your love and peace through the amazing good news of the Gospel, may we continue to anchor our hope here each day, while also sharing it with others.

So many people walk in darkness, desperate for hope and light. True, following You doesn’t exempt us from hardship, we, as believers, have a wonderful hope even in our trials, but many others do not. We are emphatically commanded to share the hope we have in word and deed, loving one another as Christ has loved us. (1 Peter 3:14-15, John 13:34-35)

“Chains shall He break for the slave is our brother,
And in His name all oppression shall cease.

Thank You for coming to bring hope and healing! Lord Jesus, You proclaim liberty, You replace ashes with beauty and despair with joy. (Isaiah 61:1-3) Because of what You did, we can experience true freedom from sin and shame, freedom only You can give. Empower us as we seek to help others grasp and experience this wonderful truth.

Help us never lose our sense of wonder as we consider all You have done.

“Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,
Let all within us praise His holy name.”

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Bethany McIlrath
2 months ago

This is so beautiful, Lesley! Amen! Praise God for Jesus, for hope and life and light even when so many anxieties weigh on us! I especially love your point that though we don’t have a star to follow, we do have the light of His word!

Nancy Ruegg
Nancy Ruegg
2 months ago

Lesley, you’ve beautifully expanded on the meaning-within-the-lyrics of this familiar carol. I agree, it is one well worth savoring. Where would we be in this weary world without the hope of a new and glorious morn, made possible by Christ the Lord!

Joanne Viola
Joanne Viola
2 months ago

Leslie, this is just beautiful. I love looking at the words of Christmas songs line by line. Sometimes in the familiar we can so miss the depth of meaning. We need to be reminded that Christ came to be near us and in us. He came to walk this life with us so that we would never need to walk in darkness. In that, we can find such hope in this dark world. May the Lord bless you during this Advent season with the wonder of Himself. Blessings!

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