If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you to go on in spite of all. And so today I still have a dream.
from the wide open spaces, he answered.
God’s now at my side and I’m not afraid;
who would dare lay a hand on me?
God’s my strong champion;
I flick off my enemies like flies.
Far better to take refuge in God
than trust in people;
Far better to take refuge in God
than trust in celebrities.
God’s readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation’s available for everyone! We’re being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears. He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.
Great little One! whose all-embracing birth
Lifts Earth to Heaven, stoops Heaven to Earth.
Oh! Teach us to live well!
Teach us to live wisely and well!
Come back, God—how long do we have to wait?—
and treat your servants with kindness for a change.
Surprise us with love at daybreak;
then we’ll skip and dance all the day long.
Make up for the bad times with some good times;
we’ve seen enough evil to last a lifetime.
Let your servants see what you’re best at—
the ways you rule and bless your children.
And let the loveliness of our Lord, our God, rest on us,
Oh, yes. Affirm the work that we do!
confirming the work that we do.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
~ Luke 2: 1, 4-5
If you have ever known someone who was pregnant or been pregnant, and close to delivery, you have known how uncomfortable it can be. It’s hard to get behind the wheel of a car, it’s hard to be far from a bathroom, a favorite food, the ability to move the covers on and off due to over heating. Getting dressed can be a comedy of errors.
Yet here was this young wife, traveling on terrain that would inspire labor, moving through the streets of Nazareth with her husband. Waiting as he tried every place in town to find them sleeping quarters and a place to deliver their child. I wonder what her conversations with God were while Joseph tried to secure a room. I wonder if she had any complaints at all, if she kept them to herself, if she was just “done” and ready to deliver NOW.
Place after place gave them no quarter until at last, they arrived at an inn. Once more they heard the words, “There is no room.” I wonder sometimes if the innkeeper’s wife was just inside taking a good look at Mary, tugging at her husband’s homespun garment, urging him to let the couple go to the stable, or maybe the husband had compassion for the young dad, remembering his own wife’s labor. No matter what his motivation, I am sure the kindest words every heard in that night of nights were, “There is room in the stable.”
Today, try to make your words kind, belay the sarcasm that comes so easily in this climate. You never know just how much they are needed by someone you encounter on this journey.
Try a Little Kindness
Because of Him,
In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to the Galilean village of Nazareth to a virgin engaged to be married to a man descended from David. His name was Joseph, and the virgin’s name, Mary. Upon entering, Gabriel greeted her:
You’re beautiful with God’s beauty,
Beautiful inside and out!
God be with you.
~ Luke 1:26-28
Imagine. You’re up, clean and dressed, ready for work, no matter where that is. Home most likely for Mary. Or maybe you’re up and not yet prepared for the day. Nonetheless, you turn around and there is Gabriel. I have no idea how that impacted Mary at first sight. But Mary loved God and was prepared. She looked up and then she heard:
“Good morning! Your’e beautiful with God’s beauty, Beautiful inside and out! God be with you.”
Tell me, how would you react? How would you respond? Would you cock your head and say “What do you want?” with your hands on your hips? Would you fall to your knees and put your head down? Would your eyes fill with tears that God had answered your prayer that someone saw God in you?
I know that there are many who would not receive that compliment well. And yet, do we not pray to be more like Jesus?, to have God shine in us? Mary must have prayed. And before her stood not only an affirmation of her prayers, but she was chosen to be the mother of God’s only begotten son!.
Mary was not in competition. She was not prepping for a beauty contest. She was living her life and one morning met the angel Gabriel. It changed her life. It changed yours and mine.
Breath of Heaven
Good morning, you who are beautiful inside and out in God.
Walk forward in that light today.
Because of Him,