O Holy Night

19th December

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…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.”

Luke 2:15, 20

A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new glorious morn
Fall on your knees
O hear the angels’ voices
O night divine
O night when Christ was born

There is good news and then there is good news that changes people’s lives. Imagine for example you found out a friend of yours had become pregnant. You would be so happy for them right! Yet that news wouldn’t change your life per se. However, if that news were to become more closer to home and you found out that you were having a child, it would change everything, right! Although this example is a little far fetched, imagine for a moment, how much this good news changed the lives of not only Joseph and Mary, but all who witnessed this holy night, when Christ our Saviour was born. Wise men travelled distances to present their gifts, shepherds fell to their knees in worship, Kings were challenged by His birth and all this was still whilst He was a child. When He grew up, nations and kingdoms, both heavenly and physically were turned upside down by His life and death and resurrection. Jesus being born, was a turning point in history and if you allow Him to rule and reign in your hearts, can be a turning point for your life too. What a Holy Night. When Christ our Saviour was born.

Immanuel: Part 2

18th December

Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a Son and they will call Him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’”

Matthew 1:23

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay

Close by me forever, and love me I pray

When the prophet Isaiah spoke the words of prophecy (found in Matthew 1:23 and Isaiah 7:14), perhaps even he didn’t realise the fullness of what it meant. Yes, there would be liberty and freedom from the chains, yokes and burdens of slavery and persecution, but perhaps it looked different from what Isaiah, and even the people of Jesus’ time thought it to be. In fact, we now know, that this liberty and freedom was spiritual, physical, and emotional. Yet this freedom and liberty was so that God could be near us, love us and stay close to us forever, in-spite of our sinful actions and attitudes. It was by Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection, that we can enjoy intimacy and closeness with God. The gap between us and God is no longer. The punishment for our sin has been paid. The chains and heavy yokes of oppression and slavery from the enemy have been shattered. We are free to live in a full, living and right relationship with Christ our Saviour. Although our dear Saviour was born as one of us in a lowly manger on that ‘not so silent night’, He was born not as a helpless child but as the King of kings, the Lord of lords and our God and Saviour, Immanuel, who is close to us. May we understand the fullness of the love of God for us this day,