The LORD said to Moses:
“Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them:
This is how you shall bless the Israelites.
Say to them:
The LORD bless you and keep you!
The LORD let his face shine upon
you, and be gracious to you!
The LORD look upon you kindly and
give you peace!
So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites,
and I will bless them.”
Sometimes I think we forget how amazing this truly is; our God cares so much for us that He goes out of His way to speak to us. He wants to make sure we know His love and deep concern. The Lord blesses us and keeps us. How many times have we felt rejected or denied by…maybe by a teacher, a coach, that cute boy, or the popular girls? This is not the case for God. He keeps us and is gracious to us. Again, gracious. What a concept. The amount of rude people, especially (and sadly) during Christmas time at malls and parking lots makes me think humans are self-centered and abrasive. He lets His face shine upon us. That means that other people looking at us can see our Savior’s light by merely looking at us. We should be Christ’s mirror, a reflector. That sound like pressure, but God Himself sets us up for success by shining it right on us. Last but not least, He gives us peace. I’ve heard that true peace is not the absence of problems but the Presence of Christ. This speaks volumes to me because in this reading, it says He gives it to us. That means the search can be done. Looking into self-helps books, more and more yoga, exercising until we can no longer look at treadmills, calling various friends and telling them the same stories over and over. Don’t get me wrong, those can definitely and have definitely helped me, but here it is given to us freely.
Brothers and sisters:
When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son,
born of a woman, born under the law,
to ransom those under the law,
so that we might receive adoption as sons.
As proof that you are sons,
God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,
crying out, “Abba, Father!”
So you are no longer a slave but a son,
and if a son then also an heir, through God.
Being a child of the Creator of the universe. Wow. All because He sent His Son when we did not deserve Him. We were brought in, and as if that was not enough, we get proof. The Holy Spirit was put into our hearts. That statement makes me feel invincible. I have the Living, Breathing God in my little heart. I just want to love and love and love more until I can’t any longer. The word “crying” provides a lot if imagery for me in the sense that we need God. We’re crying out to Him. It is not a text, a facetime, an e-mail; it’s a desperate plea because we are needy for the One whom our souls desire. We yearn and crave Him and that is why we cry, to satisfy the thirst that only He can quench. No longer slaves…What holds you bondage to sin? What causes you to stumble? Forget it. Let it go. You are no longer that slave to the devil but an heir to the glorious Kingdom of God. How we should celebrate that and live into that. Rejoice, for we are saved.
The shepherds went in haste to Bethlehem and found Mary and Joseph,
and the infant lying in the manger.
When they saw this,
they made known the message
that had been told them about this child.
All who heard it were amazed
by what had been told them by the shepherds.
And Mary kept all these things,
reflecting on them in her heart.
Then the shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God
for all they had heard and seen,
just as it had been told to them.
When eight days were completed for his circumcision,
he was named Jesus, the name given him by the angel
before he was conceived in the womb.
We should learn from the example of the shepherds. They told and made known the message about Jesus. How often do we shy away from telling people about Jesus due to fear of rejection or people thinking we are weird Jesus freaks. I know in this day and age, you can even get mocked because you said grace before a meal, but how sad we let these things stop us. What an example Mary is, too. Keeping these things in her heart and reflecting on them. Personally, I get distracted easily, and this happens during prayer, too. Looking to Mary inspires my prayer life by giving me that hope that I do not need to have some eloquent speech planned out. I just need to reflect what is in my heart of hearts and talk to God in that intimate place.
Hope y’all are starting out the year right!