A Child Is Born

I was delighted to run across a meditation I wrote five years ago. I wanted to create a collection of seasonal meditations and managed to write a few before life took me on another writing path.

The writer’s life can be that way, and that’s okay. As long as we are following God, we are moving forward, but the path can meander. God has amazing treasures in store for us on each trail. It’s most important to be present and take in whatever is in front of us in each season.

Whether I will go back and continue writing these meditations in this new season, I don’t know yet. Right now, I’m just enjoying having unearthed them.

These meditations start out in a way similar to devotionals, but with some added steps. Kind of like guided devotionals with a response and an activity, so readers can be not only inspired but also can dig in a little, get some dirt under their fingernails while they experience God’s presence in their midst.

I’m always interested in ways to create deeper studies and experiences that build on the basic idea of a devotional. As writers, we have so much creativity available to write in ways that encourage people to interact with God in His Word. I hope this devotional meditation for the Christmas season will help you reflect on creative ideas for your writing. Be blessed!

Winter Meditation

A Child is Born

Scripture

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in the land of the shadow of death, upon them a light has shined. Isaiah 9:2 (NKJV)

Reflection

I love when the warmth of Christmas meets the cold winter landscape. I didn’t grow up in a cold climate, like the one where I live now. But there was still something about the warmth of Christmas … the light shining in the darkness. Something that welcomed every heart to respond with joy: our Savior is born!

Over the years, that message has never failed to move me. Through every Christmas Eve service of the nearly five decades of my life to date, I have felt the warmth of the presence of Jesus in a way so sweet it makes my heart weep.

This year, the Christmas message was sweeter than ever as it poured its warmth and love into an aching heart. I’ve experienced so many losses over the years, and Christmas is when the remembrance of all of them comes bubbling to the surface.

As I prepared for our Christmas Eve services this year, I had a revelation. God reminded me that despite all the lost relationships in my life, I never lost the one He offers. I confess there have been times when that offering hasn’t satisfied the pain in my heart. There is a season of grief and it is vital for healing. God knows that. But there are times when I chose to carry my sadness of loss much longer than I needed to. I wanted to hold onto my sense of injustice for all that those losses had taken from my life. I refused to exchange that pain for the comfort, healing, and peace He offers.

This Christmas Eve, I decided to let go of my pain. There are losses I will still grieve, as memories surface. But I choose to come out of agreement with a spirit of heaviness that has spent too many Christmas Eves, and all the days in between, in my heart. My heart belongs to God. I choose to let Him come in and dispel my sadness and my sense of injustice and of a life “incomplete.” He is my justice, my wholeness, my joy, and my peace.

As I watched the children of our church family put on a Christmas Eve pageant that included a live baby Jesus, and listened to the words of a song that asked if my Lord Jesus knew, from the first moment He opened his infant eyes, that He would be my Savior, I wept. These were not tears of grief, pain, or loss. They were tears of joy, that this tiny infant’s love for me was greater than all my losses. The life I have in Him is so filled with love and peace that I have yet to fully receive.

I choose to lay down my sadness, to step away from the bleak landscape I’ve inhabited in my thoughts and emotions, and receive the warmth of Christ’s love into my whole heart. Thank You, God, for the warmth of Christmas.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank You for coming into our lives – to save us, to lead us, to transform us, to redeem us. Thank You that Your love is stronger than death, stronger than loss, stronger than all the things the enemy throws at us. Thank You, Lord, that You know You’re our Savior, and that it is Your greatest desire that we receive that good news in every part of our hearts. Thank You for bringing the warmth of Your love into our lives. We love You! It’s in Your precious name we pray. Amen

Thoughts

Are there parts of your heart where you haven’t yet received the warmth and fullness of Christ’s love? Will you invite Him to show you what stands in the way … and to help you lay down those things at the Cross, so He can enter into those parts of your heart that you’ve kept locked away?

Is there a loss in your life – a loss of any kind – that you still struggle with? If so, talk to Jesus about that right now. Ask Him to help you find healing and peace through His presence in your heart.

Do you know the difference between healthy, healing grief, and an unhealthy spirit of heaviness, sadness, and despair? Ask the Lord to show you the difference. If you are grieving a loss, ask Him to help you grieve in a way that is healing, and to lift your despair.

Activity

Take a walk or drive to look at Christmas lights. If you drive, if at all possible stop and park your car, so you can spend some time looking and reflecting on the warmth of the Christmas lights. Ask the Lord to join you. Reflect on how those beautiful lights demonstrate the way His light shines into your heart.

Close-Up

For the next five minutes, sit quietly and invite the Lord to sit with you. Do nothing; say nothing. Simply enjoy His presence.

Journal

In a journal or notebook, share your thoughts in a letter to God about what it means to let the warmth of His love fill your heart. Listen for His response and write what you hear.

God’s Invitation to You

Do you know how precious you are to Me? Do you know the depths of My love for you? Do you feel My love in those parts of your heart that have been hurt? Will you allow Me to come in and bring peace?

Your Response to God

God, thank You for loving me with Your whole heart. Help me to give my whole heart to You. Sometimes the thought of opening my whole heart scares me, or feels overwhelming, or seems too much to ask of You. But I want that. I want a heart that is full to overflowing with Your love. God, forgive me for [tell God what you would like forgiveness for, and know that He will forgive you]. God, thank You for [tell God the things you’re thankful for today]. God, I need You. Please help me with [tell God how you would like for Him to work in your heart and life today]. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Sensing God’s Presence

Where do you sense God’s presence?

I sense God’s presence in the scent of the Christmas tree that He lovingly raised in a pine forest and filled with His presence just for me.

I sense God’s presence in the warm smells that come from a Christmas kitchen and in the memories of childhood Christmas meals with family and friends.

I sense God’s presence in the beautiful face of a baby that reminds me of the infant Jesus, and in the sweet chorus of children’s voices as they proclaim His holy birth.

Share with God some examples of where you sense His presence.

God bless you. He loves you so much.

If you enjoyed this meditation, you might like to read two of my spring season meditations:

First Planting – available to read on my blog.

Blanket in the Shade – this link will take you to Reflections Christian Online Magazine, where you can read this spring meditation online.

Writing for Christmas Eve

Does your church have more than one service on Christmas Eve? Or special services leading up to Christmas?

Did you know sometimes it is a challenge for the pastor and church staff to come up with fresh ideas for the service, and especially for the bulletin? Let alone, the materials to advertise the service.

I remember sitting through many years of church staff meetings and a collective sigh would go around the room, as we tried to think up some new ideas at that very busy time of year.

That’s where you, the writer, come in.

Does your pastor or church staff know you love to write? If not, this might be a great time to let them know. And maybe ask if there is anything you can write for the Christmas season that would help them.

You might be surprised at the suggestions they might give you!

If you want to start with one item, you can offer to write a Christmas prayer. I can tell you that every year, we could have used your prayer in the bulletin for our 11 pm Christmas Eve service. Or placed your prayer on the tables of our Christmas Day community lunch. Or in the church newsletter during the week leading up to Christmas. Or in the last Merry Christmas message of our “daily news” email letter. Not to mention on the church website or Facebook page.

Churches need words to share with people. You create words. Ask how you can help your church as a writer this Christmas season.

And don’t stop with Christmas. If you love writing, your church would love to know – all year round. God bless you.