UNEARTHLY THING◽ ENCOURAGEMENT
God Loves You
by Angela Dolbear
Some years I find it difficult to get into the holiday spirit. I almost envy the people who are chomping at the bit to put up their Christmas trees and then snuggle in with a cup of cocoa and a Hallmark holiday movie.
Last year, I was recovering from major surgery. I didn’t have the physical strength (or desire) to put up my new white Christmas tree I purchased the year before at a post-Christmas sale. We had a mini-Christmas tree set-up on the bar separating the kitchen from the dining room. That was all.
So this year, to spark my spirit, I revisited Luke 2 in the Bible. Reading about the birth of Christ gets my brain going in a positive direction. And it begins to inspire me to celebrate the season.
When I get to Heaven someday, I hope God has a “rewind” where He will show us points in history. I would humbly ask to see (and hear) the events of Jesus’ birth.
I was struggling to paraphrase this story here and do it justice, so I thought it best to simply quote it. Luke 2:8-20 (from the New Living Translation):
That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them.
“Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize Him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing Him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.
Imagine the glory of God surrounding you! And a multitude of angels, an angelic army, praising God! It must have been beautiful.
I can only imagine the majestic and glorious sound of the angelic voices. Amazing and frightening. I love how the shepherds were terrified, but then chose to go seek out the Divine Baby the angel told them about.
Such joy at the birth of the precious Child! Our Savior! Also, our Savior…
Fast forward 30+ years. Such pain and destruction. Crucifixion sounds so horrible. Such a sacrifice.
God gave His only begotten Son because He loved us. Jesus gave Himself up for us so we could be saved.
Such love. Unfathomable love.
After meditating on God’s love and sacrifice, I don’t have any trouble celebrating Christmas. I am in fact, excited to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.
I will put out the ceramic nativity scene that my grandmother painted and fired from greenware. It’s simple and beautiful.
Unfortunately, the baby Jesus has fallen off the manger and onto the hardwood floor (pulled down once by my sweet Golden Retriever puppy who was curious about the hay the manger scene was resting on). He broke into pieces and had to be glued back together. Several times.
His little body has been broken. Sadly, appropriate.
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed,” says Isaiah 53:5.
By His torturous death, I am healed. For all eternity.
Such love the Father has for us, that He gave His only Son, for us. And while we were still unrepentant sinners. Who does that??
God does. Because He loves you. And me.
So, I hope you have a verry merry Christmas. I know I will.
Angela Dolbear is the author of contemporary Christian novels, such as THE GARDEN KEY Series, and THE TORMENTOR’S TALE, as well as many short stories, which are available in paperback, Kindle and audiobook formats on Amazon. Angela writes real, relevant, relatable, and reverent fiction. She loves reading, writing prose, as well as writing and recording music with her husband Tim in their studio in Nashville, TN--listen to their music on Sound Cloud. Please drop by and sign-up for news and to read new stories and hear new original music at http://www.angeladolbear.com/subscribe.htm. Blessings to you!