The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. Genesis 49:10
I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh: there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel Numbers 24:17(a)
But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Micah 5:2
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. Luke 2:1-20
This time of year comes quicker than it used to, and in a lot of ways leaves a lot of people stressed and just not ready. The noise whether here in the secular commericalism or in a far off land where they don’t know Christ- is a distraction and often times hostile which makes it hard to find peace and joy that was the promise which came with the Perfect Gift of God.
It’s a hard season sometimes, trying to reconcile traditions and fun, holiday cheer and remembering the reason we ‘celebrate’ at all, especially for so many who for various reasons are not feeling cheerful no matter how hard they try. And I know it’s got to be hard for our troops who are in an unbelieving country which is everything but peaceful.
I guess I’m trying to say that it’s getting harder to find that peace and joy, even for those of us who have the promise of it from our Lord, and have to work harder to focus on Him and His reason for coming to a hurting, sinful world.
He did it because He loves with a perfect love. He created Love because He is Love. And nothing can drown it out, steal it or hide it unless we let it. Here at the Heartbeat, we try and share, encourage and speak in His Love all year through, even when many of us have so many other things that could try and steal our joy.
I am grateful for the perfect gift that was born in a smelly stable so long ago, but I am also grateful for the reason He came, and the love that abides in us still no matter what circumstances we have. His love lasts forever, and He will never withdraw it from us.
For the One who left His heavenly home to be born in ours, that is what helps us to be joyful today. For Jesus who took on flesh to experience everything we experience, yet remained sinless as once again giving His perfect life for us, is what helps dim those other noisome distractions. For those who have family and friends no longer in this life- Jesus says, “I Am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” And that is a reason to rejoice this Christmas and every day.
Jesus came as prophesied once~ born of a virgin, in a stable in the little town of Bethlehem- insignificant among the tribe of Judah, as the spotless Lamb of God. Promises and prophecies remind us that He will be coming again as the Lion of Judah~ Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. He will take up His sceptre, rule His kingdom righteously and be our God… that helps us find our Peace this Christmas and every day.
To all our ‘regular’ porch family- Daisy, Bruce, Suffer, TXBullFrog, Pflichttreue, Heather, CDS, Lawngren, Walter, SJmom, HighontheTide, CarFan, Wahoo, Puddintain, AK Brother, Fly on the Wall, our Mean Green and our Snake… and to those who come once in a while, and those who stand off in the shadows, I pray you all have a most blessed, peace filled, and joyous Christmas! I am grateful God has blessed this place a lot of us consider as our home.
Joyous Christmas to my family here, and may His Peace fill you wherever you are today and every day.