The Winter Season
8 That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Luke 2:8 [NLT] In many parts of the world, winter is a cold, quiet, and lonely season. Snow on the ground gives way to slush and mud. The days are cold and short and the nights are colder and longer. But winter is not just a season of gloom, but a preparation for spring. It was a dark, cold night in the fields around Bethlehem. In the dark and cold of winter, spring was about to be revealed!
9 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10but the angel reassured them. "Don't be afraid!" he said. "I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11The Savior-- yes, the Messiah, the Lord-- has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! Luke 2:9-11 [NLT]
No matter the seasons of our lives, we need to know that all things change in creation. The one certain foundation is that God never changes! God always keeps His promises, and God always fulfills His purpose for our lives and for all creation in the story of redemption. Rejoice in HOPE despite your life situations. In good times REJOICE! In tough times
REJOICE! Christmas is CHRIST and CHRIST is HOPE!
In 1863 the poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was on his way to teach a Sunday School Class. As he walked, he heard the church bells peal -- calling the faithful to service. This was a tough time in our nation’s history. The Civil War was in its third year. The nation was traumatized by the horror of violence. As he walked toward the sound of the steeple bells, he reflected on his wife of 18 years who had been burned in a fire two years before. Then in March of 1863 his oldest son, Charles, enlisted in the Union Army without his father’s blessing. Charles was severely wounded in November 1863 in the battle of New Hope Church -- note the irony -- and would deal with his injury the rest of his life. Hearing the bells, Longfellow took out a piece of paper and wrote the following lines of a poem known as Christmas Bells.
I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old, familiar carols play, and wild and sweet The words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men! And thought how, as the day had come, The belfries of all Christendom Had rolled along The unbroken song Of peace on earth, good-will to men! Till ringing, singing on its way, The world revolved from night to day, A voice, a chime, A chant sublime Of peace on earth, good-will to men! Then from each black, accursed mouth The cannon thundered in the South, And with the sound The carols drowned Of peace on earth, good-will to men! It was as if an earthquake rent The hearth-stones of a continent, And made forlorn The households born Of peace on earth, good-will to men! And in despair I bowed my head; "There is no peace on earth," I said; "For hate is strong, And mocks the song Of peace on earth, good-will to men!"!
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep: "God is not dead, nor doth He sleep; The Wrong shall fail, The Right prevail, With peace on earth, good-will to men."
Christmas brings hope to the reality of God’s redemptive love and promise -- even in the winter seasons. You may be experiencing a time of spiritual dormancy. Be patient . . . winter always gives way to spring. God always has a spring for us. “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep…” Look forward to the future with HOPE! We are getting closer to the SECOND ADVENT!
Merry Christmas! Jesus is the Prince of Peace on Earth and the giver of a NEW HEAVEN and a NEW EARTH!
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