Tuesday, January 6, 2015
Many Christian churches celebrate January 6th as the Epiphany, a commemoration of the time when the Magi, who had been seeking the Messiah, came to the end of their journey. They knelt in worship offering the gifts they felt fit for a King.
This devotional came forth when I was working through a meditation based on the Scripture text that begins it.
It seems fitting to begin our new year in an attitude of worship and gratefulness.
We have journeyed through 12 months depending on the One who came to share his all with us. Even with the unknown that awaits us in our days yet to come, our focus can be as steady as that of these men who never gave up in their goal and were rewarded for their faithful efforts.
Recognizing Light in the Darkness
“When they saw that the star had stopped,
they were overwhelmed with joy”
(Matthew 2:10 NRSV).
We have just come through the season of Christmas yet the gift continues to unfold. I was meditating on the Magi who traveled so far in search of the Messiah.
The time frame of their arrival in Bethlehem is not always clear among scholars, but that they did arrive is important.
These men were astrologers who studied the heavens. It was this gift that helped them to recognize how Old Testament prophecies were close to being fulfilled.
It is interesting to think about “stars” in relationship to their travels for they lived by the lights in the dark skies and were guided in the night.
How often I feel lost in the darkness of my circumstances and pain. I can wander too long feeling overcome. The Magi welcomed the darkness for they knew it was leading them to the Messiah. For them it was a long journey; for me it is a change in focus.
The Magi had to wait until the star stopped in its appointed place. The Lord often waits on me until I remember the “star” is permanently dwelling within me.
He is in his appointed place and wants me back there with Him.
What was the light in the Bethlehem stable - a dark and forsaken place for humans. Perhaps a torch carefully placed could have brought some light.
But when the Magi kneeled to worship, it was their recognition of the light emanating from the babe that overwhelmed them with joy.
The gift that I can bring to the One who is the Gift, is recognizing how close He is and how much He longs for me to stop and recognize that all I need is to seek and find Him deep within.
Lord, you were born in the darkness of a night so your light could shine with lessons I need during my times of uncertainty. I bow before your faithfulness and receive the light of your care. Amen.
Thursday, January 1, 2015
But the land you are crossing the Jordan to take possession of is a land of mountains and valleys that drinks rain from heaven. It is a land the Lord your God cares for;
the eyes of the Lord your God are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end (Deuteronomy 11:11-12).
On the first day of each new year, I read this Scripture passage.
It is a reminder that another year has arrived which will hold seasons of days.
Before I look forward, I look back on the highlights from the year just completed.
Yes, there were mountains and valleys. I journeyed through them! I will face joys and challenges in the year ahead. I intend to walk into the unknowns of each new day aware of God’s faithfulness.
He guides me if I choose to let him.
True, the Lord cares about the land and the year,
but he cares about me more.
His presence is steadfast. His eyes are continually on me desiring me to cooperate with him. He accompanies me with his grace. I need not dwell on each day of the whole year. That would be overwhelming. God sees those days ahead. I release them into his hands. I commit to accepting his grace as I live out one day at a time.
Will I discover it to be a mountain day or a valley day or somewhere in between?
Maybe it will be a day comprised of all three!
As I read this Scripture, I know that I will have questions as some of my days present themselves to me.
That is alright.
Seasons from other years in my life have helped me to recognize that
my not- knowing is simply part of God’s all-knowing.
He sees the land’s obstacles. I trust and follow his lead. I become a seasoned traveler by choosing to accept both the mountain days and the valley days.
Each nourishes me as I drink the rain from heaven - God’s presence itself.
Lord, you are my constant comforter as I face the seasons of my life and the unknowns of each day. Thank you for being my hope, my trust, and my guide as I treasure you in each moment. Amen.
( Mt. Baker is part of the Cascade range of mountains in Washington state. I took this photo from atop Mt. Constitution on Orcas Island, one of the San Juan Islands. July, 2010 )
from . . .Seeking the Light of God’s Comforter . . .When Challenges Dim Our View