“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” // Psalm 90:12
Happy Last Monday of the DECADE!! This is the second blog that I put out this week, because not only is it the last few days of the year, but also of the decade. And if you know me at all, you know I love to reflect on what I’ve learned and am fascinated by how time defines things.
The 2010’s decade has been an interesting one for me. I spent more years out of school than I did in, (which didn’t occur to me until I thought about writing this blog. Seems like I spent more time in school than not!), and a lot happened this decade.
When I think about a span of ten years, I think about how much happens in that time. How much our lives change. The next ten years have the possibility to bring us the most unbelievable joys, the best surprises, and discovering more of our Creator. But before we jump into 2020, I want to take a look back at the 2010’s. Without further ado, here are the top 10 lessons I learned from the past 10 years.
Until Next Time,
“Yet I will wait patiently … Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength; He makes my feet like the feet of a deer, He enables me to tread on the heights.” // Habakkuk 3:16b, 17-19
2019. Can you believe it’s the end of the year–*ahem*–decade already? I feel like I say this every year, but it’s worth saying again, this year flew! And while I had hopes and aspirations for this year, when I look back, it looked way–and I mean WAY–different than I thought it would.
And if I’m being honest, not in the bestest ways.
Until God gave me a different persective.
When I started to reflect on 2019, I wondered how I would remember this year. When I thought about it, one thing came to mind.
This was my year of “almosts”.
I ALMOST made the move across the country I had been hoping and praying for. But didn’t.
I ALMOST went on vacation to California. Until that got canceled.
I ALMOST instead went on vacation to North Carolina. Until our car didn’t want to cooperate.
I ALMOST accepted an offer of publication on my book. Until I realized it wasn’t the right publisher for me.
I ALMOST met a guy and started a relationship I so longed to be in. Until I got my heart broken before it even started due to circumstances out of my control.
Do you seem the theme here? When I looked back on 2019, this is what I saw. I saw a year of false starts, false hopes, and unfuliflled dreams.
I saw “ALMOST”.
If you’re like most people, almost isn’t good enough. It falls just short of expectation. No one ever achieved or celebrated anything that ALMOST happened. Because simply put, it just didn’t.
I didn’t move across the country. I didn’t go on any vacations–anywhere. I didn’t publish my book. I didn’t get to date that guy.
It seemed like in 2019 … I didn’t almost do … anything.
This isn’t going to be some blog about how we should shift our perspective. That we should cheeringly looking at what DID happen, and what DID make 2019 awesome. I’m not going there at all.
Where I am going is this: Even when dreams are left unfulfilled and the heart aches more than it can bear, God is still faithful. God is still in control. And God has better.
What’s interesting is my word for 2019 was “faithful”. The idea that because God is faithful to me, I will be faithful to Him. And because of His faithfulness, He can be trusted. So, while I ALMOST did a lot this year, here’s one thing I know for sure: God was faithful through it all. And I learned a heck of a lot through it.
I didn’t move across the country because God’s timing wasn’t right.
I didn’t go on vacation, because God was protecting me.
I didn’t get my book published because there’s a better home for it out there I can’t see yet.
I didn’t date that guy because simply put:
GOD. HAS. BETTER.
That was the lesson I learned this year. It’s funny because 2018 was all about pursuing God’s best. 2019 was all about trusting and seeking His better. What hard about “better” is that we often get so blinded by the here and now, that we can’t see what could possible BE better than what’s in front of us. And because of that, we question God when things don’t go the way we want them to. We kick and scream when He takes things away from us because we can’t see what’s just around the bend. But I have learned time and time again that God always has better. A L W A Y S.
I love the book of Habakkuk (some of y’all are trying to figure out where that is, so lemme help you — Old Testament, almost to the New 🙂 ). I’m not sure if I’ve ever read the whole book (all 3 chapters!), until recently, but I always knew of it’s concluding verses. But when I read the whole book of Habakkuk recently, it amazed me. Simply amazed me.
The book starts out by Habakkuk complaining to God, frustrated that He is not seeking justice against those who have wronged Israel. He doesn’t understand why God is allowing Israel to be pursued and destroyed by these foreign countries. It opens like this in Habakkuk 1:2-3:
“How long, Lord, must I call for help,
but You do not listen?
Or cry out to You, “Violence!”
but You do not save?
Why do You make me look at injustice?
Why do You tolerate wrongdoing?”
You hear the frustration in Habakkuk’s voice while He cries out to God? That’s real. That’s relatable. The book then continues, recording God’s response in 1:5:
“Look at the nations and watch--
and be utterly amazed.
For I am going to do something in your days
that you would not believe,
even if you were told.”
This conversation between Habakkuk and God spills into chapter two. But this time, God’s response silences Habakkuk’s frustration. In 2:3, God says this:
“For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
it speaks of the end
and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
it will certainly come
and will not delay. “
That’s a word for someone today — your time will come. It may linger … but WAIT for it. It WILL come. It may not be in our timing, but it’ll be in God’s perfect timing. By the end of the book, we see a different Habakkuk. In the closing chapter, we see Habakkuk trusting in God’s timing, trusting He is powerful and will indeed do what He’s said, and concluding that he will wait for God patiently. The concluding verses show us that God has become Habakkuk’s strength, and therefore can endure–not only anything including famine and hardship–but do it joyfully. We read this in Habakkuk 3:17-19:
“Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.
The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.”
So, what is my point in all this? Though 2019 seemed to be a year of disappointments, a year of “almosts”, a year of getting my hopes up to get them let down–God walked me through something similar to what He did Habakkuk thousands of years ago. He’s showed me that He hasn’t forgotten. He is still working. He is still faithful. And He is up to something better.
So while my year may have been a year of “almosts” and false starts, this is how I will remember 2019:
The year God taught me He has better.
And I hope that if you had a disappointing year, or if disappointments meet you in the future, you can remember Habakkuk. That you can trust God, even when the promise lingers. You can wait patiently because you know He’s always working to fulfill His purpose in you. And You can rejoice always in God your Savior because He is enough for you.
Until next time,
“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” // James 1:2-4
Happy Sunday! (+ Thanksgiving Week!)
Last week we talked about seasons of hurt, and how God is not only present in our hurt, but can relate to our situation. This week, let’s talk about reasons God sometimes allows seasons of pain and hurt, and maybe we can get a good perspective change on how to handle and go through life’s trials.
Take a moment today to reflect on seasons of hardship and hurt in your life. How have you seen God work in those seasons? If you’re going through one right now, ask God to show you what He wants to, and ask Him to open your heart for all He wants to do in you through this season.
Until Next Time
“I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With Him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” // Psalm 16:8
Hey all! Happy Sunday (and October…where is this year going!?). I hope fall is settling in wherever you are. I know our poor friends in the south are still sweating the summer heat out, while our friends in the PNW are digging out from a massive snowstorm. Where I live, it’s just been cold and rainy. And I mean rainy. Like, send me all your pictures and memes of the SUN you can find because I haven’t see it in DAYS.
It’s no secret that I love sunshine, but what you may not have known about me is I love sunflowers. They’re yellow (my favorite color), and they’re just happy. Cheery. Fun! There was something I didn’t know about these lovely flowers though, and that was how they got their name. They’re actually called sunflowers because they have special motor cells at their base that change size as they absorb water. This causes the sunflower to move their faces towards the sun throughout the day.
This activity is actually known as solar tracking. The sunflower actually shifts directions as it follows the sun in the sky all day long. How cool is that!
Maybe you knew this, or maybe you didn’t. But either way, I think we can learn a lesson from the sunflower. As Christians, there is a Son we follow. Scripture talks repeatedly about keeping our eyes on the Lord, about fixing our eyes on Jesus (Heb. 12:1-2), and turning to Him at all times. What if we were just like these sunflowers? No matter what time of day, we’re facing towards the Son. No matter what is going on around us, we’re facing towards the Son. No matter where we are, we’re facing towards the Son.
I believe that this is not only a Biblical posture, but an amazing one. We all know the world we’re living in is quite chaotic, but that doesn’t have to impact our joy, our strength, or our ability to stand and follow Christ. But the key to living in a chaotic world unhindered in the ability to remain in a posture of always look towards–or facing–the Son.
I’m convinced that now more than ever, Jesus is the answer. He’s our only hope. The only One we can put our full faith in. The One who walked on water in the storm is the same one calling out to you today (Matthew 14:22-33). Jesus hasn’t changed since His time on earth (Hebrews 13:8). He hasn’t forgotten, His plans haven’t been delayed, and His purpose in coming is as important and life changing as it always has been.
We influence this world as much as we allow Jesus to lead us. We were never meant to do this life on our own. We were never meant to follow our own way. We were never meant to face something else, following it as it shifts. Just Jesus. Just Jesus.
This week, take some time to think about what impacts your perspective and position in life. Are you turning towards Jesus always, or are you looking towards something or someone else to lead and guide you. It’s never too late to become like our pretty yellow sunflower. I believe that when we spend time in God’s Word and in prayer, He will help us stay focused on following Him always. And when we do, someday we might just change the world.
Until Next Time,
“Come, follow me.” // Matthew 4:19
Hey all! Happy Sunday! Well, summer is in full swing and I’m enjoying all things sunshine, sweet tea, and summer festivities. While it’s insane to think summer is almost halfway over (for us, anyways. Our summers are so short), I’m savoring and enjoying every moment of this amazing season.
One summery thing I did recently was attend Lifest, which is the largest Christian music festival in the country — and it’s less than two hours from my house! I’ve never been, but always wanted to attend. So last week I made a last minute decision to go with a friend, and I am so glad I did! One of my favorite bands was playing, and I knew I couldn’t miss it.
An interesting thing happened while I was there, though. I found myself in a place I’ve never been, and I had absolutely no idea how anything worked, where anything was, and was completely helpless to help myself. Usually circumstances like this freak me out, but not this one. The friend I was attending the festival with was a pro. She attends the festival every day of the three day event, and she’s been going for years. She knew where everything was, down to where she parked her car (which was a complete maze and almost a half mile walk from the main stage). But I found that in this situation where I was completely helpless, I was calm because I was being guided by someone who knew the ins and outs of what they were doing, where they were, and where they were going.
Life is a lot like this. We can get freaked out over circumstances where we can’t see the way ahead – and understandably so. But it’s in these moments that we have to remember Who we go with, and Who goes before us. God knows eternity past to eternity future. Nothing surprises Him, and He is always on His throne. He existed, taking care of His people and planet, before we were born. He is still being faithful now.
Jesus gives us a simple invitation to follow Him. This has to be one of the simplest commands in all of Scripture, yet it’s one we have the hardest time doing. We like control, we like to know all the answers. But the truth is, there is no safer place we can be than to just release that control and follow Jesus who not only knows the way, but IS the way.
Following Jesus takes childlike faith. The older I get, the more I realize why Jesus wants us to be like little children (Matthew 18:3). Little children can chase life with wonder, their hearts are carefree. And even though life often tries to steal these things from us, when we follow our heavenly Father, we are free to be like a little child. When our heart trusts Him and submits to following Him, peace, joy, and childlike wonder will develop. And nothing is better than following the God who has the best in mind for us and finding things we’ve lost along the way.
The way to true life is to lose it (Matthew 16:24-26). A faith worth having is worth a life worth losing. It’s then we can follow Jesus wholeheartedly. And it’s there we’ll find everything we’ve been made for.
This week, try loosening the grips on your life and instead follow where Jesus leads, and see what happens to your heart, emotions, and life. And if we do, someday we might just change the world. ❤
Until next time,
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” // 1 John 4:18
Happy Sunday! This week we’re continuing our series on God’s love in celebration of February, Valentine’s Day, love. You know, all that good stuff.
Something that is crippling in our day and age is fear. Fear, anxiety, depression … all the things. I’ve struggled with this myself, but I’ve learned a lot through it. And one of the things I’ve learned is that if we truly believe God, if we truly take Him at His word, there is nothing to fear.
Now, before I continue, I understand that there are serious conditions that make this subject rather complicated. Please know that this post is not insensitive to that, and this is certainly not medical advice. However, I believe (as an anxiety sufferer myself) that there is nothing more powerful, more healing, and more freeing than believing and standing in the power of God’s promises.
We’re told in 1 John 4:18 that “perfect love drives out fear”. When I read this, I wondered why, if this were true, fear was still penetrating my heart. But when I read on, the verse tells us why. “Fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
When we fear, it’s usually because we aren’t trusting God for who He says He is in some aspect. Here’s a list of reasons, based in who God is, we have no reason to fear:
Because of God’s love, we don’t have to fear. And if we believe that and live like it’s true, someday we might just change the world ❤
Until Next Time,
“Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, ‘children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.’ Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.” // Philippians 2:14-16
I was reading a devotional book the other day when I came across a quote that really struck me. This is what it said:
“There is no point to a life in Christ if we lose the one thing that makes us different from the world. God wants you to display a life that shows how wonderful salvation is.”
Janelle Anthony BreckellThis made me stop and think for a moment. In today’s culture, it’s so easy to blend in. We think by “blending in” that we’ll somehow win others to Christ. They’ll think Christianity is “cool” because we do what they do. But if we think about it, what message is that portraying to the outside world? It sounds to me like that’s saying, “If you decided to follow Jesus, that’s cool. You can even keep doing what you’re doing right now.”
Now, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s fine that Christians laugh, have fun, and do cool things. There’s nothing wrong with that. The problem comes when we as Christians try to blend in instead of being set apart.
Can we meet the world where they are by having fun, doing “cool” things, without actually being apart of them? I think the answer is yes.
The thing of it is, that’s a hard yes. It’s hard to get close to culture without getting sucked into it. It’s hard to stand our ground against temptation and the lure of the world, especially when we’re trying to engage it. But as Christians, it’s imperative that we go and meet the culture where they’re at without getting sucked into exactly what they’re doing.
The Bible talks about us walking a different path in life. Ephesians 4:1 tells us, “As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.” This is a strong exhortation from the Apostle Paul. He’s pleading with the church at Ephesus to live a life worthy of the calling they’ve received. When we came to know Jesus as our Savior, our old self was done away with. We were given a new name. A new identity. We were brought into a new family (2 Cor 5:17, Galatians 4:3-7).
You probably have some resemblance to your family, your loves ones. Maybe you have your mom’s hair, or your dad’s eyes. But what about to your Heavenly Father? Is your heart reflecting His? When people see you, are they seeing your resemblance to Him? Are you standing out, shining bright in this dark generation? Are others questioning why your life is soaked with joy and your peace unshakable?
This is the kind of life we are called to as followers of Jesus. If we look like everyone else, talk like everyone else, and live like everyone else, how is anyone supposed to see Jesus in us? How are people supposed to experience the life changing power of Jesus if they’re not seeing it in us?
In short, what is the purpose of following Jesus if we’re doing life the same way as the person who’s not?
I’m convicted to hide God’s word in my heart, to invite Him in every day, and by the power of His Holy Spirit to live a life that’s different, one that’s shining on the brightest and darkest of days. It’s not an easy life by any means. But Jesus didn’t call us to an easy life … He Himself didn’t live an easy life. He served when He could’ve been served. He gave when He could’ve received. He sacrificed His life when He could’ve just stayed in heaven, seated on His throne, and worshiped day and night for all eternity. But instead, He came to rescue us. To rescue us out of our life of sin and darkness, that we may have an eternity filled with Him. That’s why our life should look different. That’s why we want people to know Jesus. Because He’s not only changed our life, but the course of human history!
As you wade into this week, pray about where God might want your light to shine a little brighter this week. Maybe at school? Maybe at work? Maybe to your unsaved family members? How can you be salt and light and bring the hope and power of Jesus to other’s this week?
When we recognize we’re set apart by God to stand out for Him, someday we might just change the world. ❤
Until Next Time,
P.S.!! This week’s blog was inspired by the devotional Whatever Is Lovely by BroadStreet Publishing Group LLC & 100 Things God Loves About You: Simple Reminders For When You Need Them Most by Zondervan. Please check these wonderful books out!
“The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy. They are established for ever and ever, enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.” // Psalm 111:7-8
Happy New Year 2019 everyone!
I feel like I say this at the beginning of every blog post, but I literally can’t believe it’s New Years. 2018 went by so, so fast! I mean, I literally remember last year at this time, thinking about 2018 and all I hoped and believed it would hold.
What’s funny about looking back at the hopes and expectations you had for something is seeing how much of it actually came to be, and what actually happened that was completely unexpected, things you could’ve never saw coming.
This year was a pretty good one for me, and I’m thankful for that. I’ve had a few rough years in the recent past, so the fact that 2018 was a good year is something I’m very grateful for.
But what’s funny about 2018 is it wasn’t anything I expected to be.
But what’s funny about 2018 is it wasn’t anything I expected to be. What I thought would happen in 2018, didn’t. What I didn’t think would happen in 2018, did. And I think that leads up to a big lesson I learned just recently (stay tuned for that blog in the next couple weeks). But, the reality is none of us really knows what’s up ahead, and none of us are really that in control of what the future holds.
But, the reality is none of us really knows what’s up ahead, and none of us are really that in control of what the future holds.
Sure, we can set goals and work hard to accomplish what we desire, but overall, things happen. Life happens. God moves in ways we could never even think of. And while 2018 wasn’t anything I expected, it was literally one of the best I’ve had in a while.
For example, I didn’t [ever] think I would actually rewrite a manuscript I’ve been wanting to get published for years in 2018. I couldn’t ever imagine the hope and the joy I experienced in 2018. And never did I think I’d be at the end of 2018 so full of hope and excitement for the future as I am.
If you know Jesus as your Savior, He will use every moment of hurt, pain, and disappointment to work out the most beautiful picture you could ever imagine. That’s not just hype, either.
But, if 2018 wasn’t everything you hoped for, or maybe it even left you more disappointed and discouraged than you thought you would be, know that every moment God is in control. And if you know Jesus as your Savior, He will use every moment of hurt, pain, and disappointment to work out the most beautiful picture you could ever imagine. That’s not just hype, either. God is that kind. God is that faithful. If we just choose to trust Him and follow Him, He’ll bring us into the best plan He has for our life.
So, here we are. 2019. Every year I pray and pick a word for the upcoming year. For 2019, my word is faithful. The Lord gave me this word while I was reading Psalm 111. Verses 7-8 read, “The works of His hands are faithful and just; all His precepts are trustworthy. They are established for ever and ever, enacted in faithfulness and uprightness.”
My idea of this word for the upcoming year is this:
My idea of this word for the upcoming year is this:
1. That God is faithful
2. That because of God’s faithfulness, I will choose to be faithful to God
Late this year, God showed me a picture of what it looks like to believe and live as though I believe God is faithful. Faithful to provide all my needs — material, spiritual, and emotional. That He is faithful. Constant. Unchanging. And while these are all things I “know”, this year, I want to live like I believe those things. And that leads into the second part of my word. That I will choose to be faithful to God.
I think a lot of us get carried away in the things we “should be” “doing” as Christians, but that’s different than being faithful to Him. Being faithful to Him is more like a relationship. Like a husband is faithful to his wife, or a wife faithful to her husband. In whatever they do, they want to honor each other, respect each other, and do things that the other would support and approve of. That’s the picture of being faithful to God.
Being faithful to Him is more like a relationship. Like a husband is faithful to his wife, or a wife faithful to her husband. In whatever they do, they want to honor each other, respect each other, and do things that the other would support and approve of. That’s the picture of being faithful to God.
When I speak, whatever I do, wherever I am, I want to be faithful to Him. When others see my life, I want them to see a King who is still alive and active, a King who sets the captive free, a King who erases anxiety and fear. A King who brings peace, hope, and joy. A King who is peace, hope, and joy.
Do I have hopes and dreams for 2019? Sure. But more than that, I have hope in my God. My faithful King. That whatever He desires would happen in 2019. That He would lead, open doors, shut doors, and redirect as necessary. That I would be able to look back in one year and be just as hopeful, just as excited, just as joyful heading into 2020, no matter what happens over the next 365 days. That my hope in Him would be stronger than the fear that tries to reign. Because I have hope in the God who is reigning. And is doing it mightily faithfully.
Because I have hope in the God who is reigning. And is doing it mightily faithfully.
I came across this Scripture that I love in Psalm 119:35-37 that I thought would be a great prayer to start off 2019 with:
Direct me in the path of Your commands, for there I find delight. Turn my heart toward Your statutes and not toward selfish gain. Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to Your word.
I hope you all have an awesome 2019! I can’t wait to take the journey with you. May the Lord bless you and keep you, make His face shine on you and be gracious to you, and may He turn His face toward you and give you peace.
May we ever seek His face in 2019, and by doing so, someday we might just change the world ❤
Until Next Time,
P.S.! Here are some other Scriptures I found relating to the theme of my word faithful for the year:
Psalm 112:6-8:“Surely the righteous will never be shaken;
they will be remembered forever.
They will have no fear of bad news;
their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Their hearts are secure, they will have no fear;
in the end they will look in triumph on their foes.”
Psalm 116:12:“What shall I return to the Lord for all His goodness to me?”
Psalm 119:30:“I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on Your laws.”
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.”
“At the LORD’s command the Israelites set out, and at His command they encamped. As long as the cloud stayed over the tabernacle, they remained in camp. When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the LORD’s order and did not set out.” -Numbers 9:18-19
Happy New Year, everyone! Can you believe it’s the end of 2017 already? I feel like we were just ringing in the year, and now it’s coming to a close. It’s crazy how fast this year went by. I felt like I blinked and it was gone.
However, this year was indeed filled with many things. Many good, and a few bad. Over all, I can say that 2017 was a good year for me. Probably the best in recent years. And during this year, I had this idea to write down these lessons that I had been learning, and boy am I glad that I did. While I’m only going to give you 17 of the ones I had written down that I had learned from this year, I was stunned when I looked back on the pages of pages of things I had written down! It’s been such a blessing to me to look back on these lessons, and to carry them forward with me into the future.
If I had to choose one word that summed up 2017, it would be surrender. This was a year that was, especially in the last half of the year, characterized by surrender. Surrender of relationships, dreams, and plans. And these things were not always easy. However, it was out of some of these things I had to surrender that some of the most powerful lessons came about, many which are listed below.
So without delay, here are the 17 things I learned in 2017 that I wanted to share with you today. May these strengthen you in your own walk with Christ and in seasons to come in your own life.
Well, that’s about 17, ya’ll. I hope these are an encouragement to you. Thank you for all of you who take the time to read what I write and for those who have been an encouragement to me over the past year. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for 2018. May it be a year of growing in Christ, loving Him more, and watching His marvelous plan unfold.
“An angel of the LORD appeared to them, and the glory of the LORD shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the LORD.'” – Luke 2:9-11
Many people are familiar with this passage taken out of the Christmas story in Luke 2. As I was thinking about Christmas and heard this passage, two things stuck out to me this year. Good news and Great joy. This angel was sent from God in heaven to announce the birth of the Savior to a group of Shepherds in the field at night, and when the angel arrived, they announced that there was no need to be terrified at its appearing, but in fact the angel was bringing an announcement. This announcement was good news that would cause great joy. And that this announcement was good news that would cause great joy for all people.
Just like today, the people in Israel 2000 years ago could use some good news that would cause great joy. The people of God had been long awaiting a Savior to rescue them from their oppression of their time. In fact, at the time Jesus had been born, the people had gone 400 years since a word from God. But all the while, they trusted and waited that God would send a Savior to them. And that the Savior had been born was the greatest announcement ever made, and the Shepherds tending their sheep in the field—a people group who was considered too unclean to even worship in the temple at the time no less— received this announcement. The announcement proceeded with this: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the LORD” (vs. 11). The long-awaited, long-promised Savior had been born. The one who would free them from their bondage had come! God hadn’t forgotten about them! God hadn’t forgotten His promise! God hadn’t forgotten His people! This indeed was good news that would cause great joy, not only to the Shepherds and the people of Israel of that day, but to us as well. We are included in this good news that causes great joy today just as much as the Shepherds were that night when the angel appeared. Jesus wasn’t just born for His people, though He was born for them too, but He was born for us. He was born for you.
But there’s more to the story then just an angel appearing at night to a group of Shepherds. I mean, nothing ordinary was happening surrounding the birth of Jesus. A young women yet to be married and who was a virgin was pregnant and called favored by God while society would see her much differently? The angels announced the birth of Christ three separate times? A star indicated where the Savior had been born? The Shepherds were the first people group to know the Savior had been born?
Let me say this: the birth of Jesus just isn’t some event that took place 2000 years ago by chance. Every detail about His birth was carried about by the exact plan and will of God. It was 2000 years in the making. Every event in history leading up to that point happened so that this event could take place at this exact moment. The roads built years before Jesus came so that this message could be spread to people around the world. The census that was called right before Jesus was born. And the list of God preparing the stage goes on. And why did it take place? That you and me might be saved and forgiven by that same baby and have an eternity in the unending presence of God Almighty. That He might show us His love and power in an unimaginable way. And that we might have a relationship with Him once again.
That’s what Christmas is all about.
Its about a God who keeps every promise to a T every single time. Proving that He does what He says He’ll do. That His love for us is more than we can fathom. And that He deserves the highest of praise. Every detail of the Christmas story was set in place at the perfect time. That a perfect Savior might be born. And God’s perfect plan would unfold. It was a plan set in motion from the beginning of time. From when God knew Adam and Eve would sin in the garden. He knew it before He created Adam and Eve with a free will. He knew it before He spoke the world into motion. The same world He would send His Son into at that precise moment in history to undo all the wrong humanity had done. And He did all of it knowing that the greatest and most costly price would be paid at the end of this baby’s life. But He did it because He’s a God of His promise. Because He is a God who loves us that much. Because He’s a God who went to the ultimate length to buy us back to Himself. And this is the good news that causes great joy for us today and forever. So when you think about the birth of Jesus this year, remember the reason He came. The love that was given. The price He came to pay. And the victory He came to win. This is the good news. This is the thing that causes great joy. And it’s the thing that will last into eternity.
So, yes, Christmas is a time to celebrate. This is the single event in human history that allows us to be free from every sin that held us captive, and be engulfed forever in a love that is unimaginable. Indeed, we who are forgiven have received good news that will cause great joy. May this good news and great joy consume your heart this Christmas season and in the year ahead.
And for fun, here are my top picks of Christmas songs this year:
When I Think Upon Christmas- Hillsong Worship
Little Drummer Boy (Live) – For King and Country
Baby Boy (Live) – For King and Country
White as Snow – NewSong
Noel – Lauren Daigle
I Celebrate the Day – Relient K
His Favorite Christmas Story – Capital Lights