Posts Tagged ‘devotional’

Love’s Pure Light

In order to save my ceramic nativity set when my daughter was small, I crafted a play nativity set out of plastic canvas and yarn.  Elizabeth would spend hours rearranging the pieces and acting out the Christmas story.  I would laugh to myself when I would inevitably hear her say, “Hey Mary, can I hold your baby?”

I just couldn’t picture the work-roughened hands of a shepherd cuddling an infant, or a royal king stooping down to embrace a poor child in a manger.  It made perfect sense to her, however, that if these people were going to make a trip to see a baby, they wouldn’t want to leave without holding it.

She wasn’t really so far off.  When you see a young baby, it’s only natural to admire them and comment about how cute he or she is.  But if you actually pick up that baby, a whole other phenomenon takes place.  Somehow, holding that child, gazing into his or her eyes, connecting with that uniquely God-given personality — that baby just gets into your heart!  Perhaps the shepherds and wise men were drawn in the same way to embrace the infant of Bethlehem and experience the miracle of His love in their hearts that first Christmas.

As we make the journey to the stable in Bethlehem again this year, let’s not just gaze on the Child in the manger and turn away unchanged.  Let’s embrace the Child of Bethlehem — the pure light of God’s love — and let Him shine into our hearts and make us new.

Don’t leave without holding the baby.

“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.” Isaiah 9:2 (NIV)

Copyright 1999 – Mary E. Egidio — (Originally published in “A Christmas to Remember — Advent Devotionals“) Permission is granted to share this post, but with attribution, and not for commercial purposes.

Finding Refuge

Our long-haired Chihuahua, Miss Cocoa, is terrified of storms. This is probably not a good thing for a dog who lives in what has been called the ‘lightning capital of the world.’  Because of her acute canine hearing, she often knows the bad weather is approaching long before we do.  When she hears that first rumble, she comes to me or my husband with a worried expression on her face. (I know, how can you tell with a Chihuahua, right?)  Soon her body begins to tremble, and she pants uncontrollably.  We can do nothing to console her.  Our verbal reassurances do not convince her.  (this is especially fun in the middle of the night)    For some reason, the only place she feels safe is behind our bed.  I guess she sees it as the biggest thing in the house, and therefore able to protect her.  When the storm is coming, that becomes her place of refuge.

I bet you know where I’m going with this, don’t you?

The psalmist writes, “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea… The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.”  (Psalm 46:1-1, 7)

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been there.  I’ve felt the earth give way beneath my feet.  The death of a loved one, a job loss, a betrayal of trust, the rebellion of a child, a medical diagnosis — they can make us feel as if the very ground below us is slipping away.  It’s easy to try to seek out answers, to try to escape from the pain by seeking refuge in the wrong places.  But I’ve found them to be only temporary fixes.  No one can console and lift us in these times.  No one, that is, except the Lord Almighty, our ever-present help in trouble.  Sometimes I simply sense His presence beside me; but other times, all I want to do is ‘hunker down’ and hide in Him until the storm passes.  And that’s okay.

If you’re going through difficult days right now, or are starting to hear the rumbles in the distance, don’t be afraid.  God is your refuge.  Run to Him for consolation.

‘The God of Jacob is our fortress.’  That’s a pretty safe place to hide behind, don’t you think?

Copyright 2010 Mary E. Egidio – Permission is granted to share this devotional, but only with attribution, and not for commercial purposes.