The word joy or rejoice is in the New Testament more than 70 times, in…
Have you ever felt like this?
You drag yourself through the front door and into your home. Your arms are loaded with more work than you can possibly ever get done, so you drop the burden of books, to-do files, and bags with a cry of exasperation. You don’t turn on the light because you can’t bear to look at the state the house is in. You’re hungry but making something to eat feels overwhelming. You crave a long, hot bath because your head is pounding, your heart is racing, and your body aches; yet, you are tempted to skip food and bathing so you can collapse into bed.
You are soul sick. It’s an illness brought on by demanding people and schedules, too much coffee and adrenaline boosters and not enough prayer and stillness. You hate to admit it, but you are sick of life and its demands. It seems everyone needs a piece of you: family, friends, neighbors—people you dearly love; but at this moment, you can’t even summon the strength to help yourself.
So, you lean against the wall and slowly slide down, collapsing in a heap on the floor. Your head slumps toward your knees and you wrap your arms around yourself because you could really use a hug. You know you can’t keep going this way. Something has to change.
Dear friend, there is hope. Change is the good news of the Christmas story.
Each Christmas, I speak at holiday events, on “The Christmas Light.” In the presence of the Advent wreath with candles, I share the heartbeat of the message:
“In him was life, and the life was the light of men.” (John 1:4 ESV)
I weave a message of inspiration, of how Jesus is my light and yours as we journey through life, and he is our ultimate hope based on Isaiah 9:6 (NIV):
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
This verse is well-known because it is in Handel’s Messiah concerts where the audience stands during the Halleluiah chorus. Does your heart stand in honor of the Messiah of hope today?
When life seems impossible, heaven sends help:
And the angel came to her [Mary] and said, “Rejoice, favored woman! The Lord is with you…Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God…. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will call His name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end.”
Mary asked the angel, “How can this be, since I have not been intimate with a man?”
The angel replied to her: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
Therefore, the holy One to be born will be called the Son of God… For nothing will be impossible with God.” (Luke 1: 29-37 HCSB)
Ponder Christ’s names below: What do you want the Christ to accomplish in your life?
Wonderful Counselor: An astonishing advisor
Mighty God: The Almighty God; a strong, heroic, warrior champion
Everlasting Father: The First and Forever Father of All
Prince of Peace: Ruler, Captain, Chief, Commander of perfect peace and prosperity.
Choose a name of the Messiah you want to hang your heart on and rest your hope in. Create art or buy an item symbolizing this name. Pick up a copy of Discovering Jesus in the Old Testament and get to know the long-awaited Messiah, your Savior, the Christ-child, better, Place this as a prayer prompt so when your heart is heavy, you look to your wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father and Prince of Peace.
Now, just as in the times of Isaiah, people carry desperately heavy burdens. We all need a Savior to light our way. Immanuel, God is with us!
Pam Farrel is the author of over 50 books and co-author of the award-winning Discovering Hope in the Psalms; Discovering Joy in Philippians and Discovering Jesus in in the Old Testament: A Creative Bible Study Experience. Pam and her husband, Bill, Co-Direct Love-Wise Ministry. . www.Love-Wise.com As out gift, download A Baker’s Dozen of Delights” Christmas fun, family and festivities sent from our home to your home this holiday!