Staying TrueOur ability to stand in the midst of trials will depend on the focus of our gaze.
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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
Having read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever in
her class, my daughter decided to re-enact Jesus’
birth. Casting herself as an angel—complete
with wings, dress, and sparkling shoes—she made
her brother, her lone recruit, a shepherd. Firstborn to
the core, she gave Micah his directions and began
reciting her lines with passion. Micah, however, was
a little distracted. More sheep than shepherd, he bent
down and began playing with the lights on her princess
shoes. Kicking away his 4 year old fingers, she sternly
whispered, “Micah! Stop it!” and then, resuming her
angelic expression, she finished her lines.
The hustle and bustle surrounding Christmas can often
distract us from the real meaning of the celebration. We
can forget to focus on Jesus as we become sidetracked with
the trappings of this world. Our attention becomes fixed on
everything but the heart of the story (Matthew 1:23).
I enjoy pondering what it might have been like to quietly
observe the shepherds just moments before the angels’
arrival. What sounds carried across the night air? Were
the shepherds thinking in silence, exchanging stories of
days gone by, or drifting into a restful lull? Was the air
heavy and still or crisp with a light wind?
The hope for humanity changed that night, and
heaven rejoiced with the reality. Redemption had come!
Like a seamless performance, we want everyone to say their lines and
follow our directions—even God. We wrongfully equate redemption with
everything looking right (Isaiah 53:3). The beauty of Jesus’ birth, however,
shines brightly due to the greater beauty of His death (Ephesians 1:7).
There is no one scene that stands alone in our lives; rather, they all fit together
in the greater story of God’s redemptive work.
Read Psalms 130:7. What did the psalmist reveal about God and
the redemption He provided through Jesus?
What happens when we see our faith as a performance rather than
a revelation of God’s hand? In what ways has God redeemed your
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