Christmas is a time to rejoice and celebrate the good things God’s done in our lives.
Life can make us cynical if we’re not careful. If you spend anytime watching or reading news headlines these days, it can seem especially harrowing as corruption and despicable acts run wild in our world. Sometimes it takes a concentrated effort to find the good, to see where God is moving. But He is. You can be sure about that. God is doing great things despite what humans do.
Do we notice? Do we give attention to them? Or are we too used to looking for the conspiracy and the corruption, waiting for the tide to turn?
Some of us can’t rejoice with others because we’re convinced there is more to the story. Unfortunately, we’ve been proven right too many times to count; it’s just hard to believe anyone is telling the truth anymore.
Imagine how God must feel when He does great things for us, yet we respond flippantly, or with cynicism and doubt. It must break his heart. Does He start to hold back?
Thinking back through the first Christmas, every person touched by the story responded overwhelmingly with praise back to God. Despite a harsh political climate, they were overjoyed by what God was doing and worshipped Him.
I love how Luke records the shepherds response after seeing Jesus.
Luke 2:17, they spread the story of what they experienced and what had been said to them about this child. Everyone who heard their story couldn’t stop thinking about its meaning…the shepherds returned to their flocks, praising God for all they had seen and heard, and they glorified God for the way the experience had unfolded just as the heavenly messenger had predicted.
The shepherds were forever changed that night. I wonder if they saw Jesus again after that night. I wonder what the three wise men shared about their experience when they returned to the East. How many people heard the story of Jesus from the shepherds and the wise men’s point of view? Did it change their view of God?
What has God done in your life this year?
Despite how hard or challenging it may have been, there must be some good things He did/is doing. Praise God for the good, acknowledge how He has moved in your life. Not for anything you might get in return, but in honor and to worship Him.
Mary responded overwhelmingly with praise soon after she became pregnant. Not only did she praise Him for what He had done in her life, but she praised Him for who He is––how He elevates the humble and dismisses the proud.
Reflect on Mary’s song and let it prompt praise. Let it remind you of his faithfulness not only in your life, but all throughout time.
My soul lifts up the Lord!
My spirit celebrates God, my Liberator!
For though I’m God’s humble servant, God has noticed me.
Now and forever, I will be considered blessed by all generations.
For the Mighty One has done great things for me; holy is God’s name!
From generation to generation,
God’s lovingkindness endures for those who revere Him.
God’s arm has accomplished mighty deeds.
The proud in mind and heart, God has sent away in disarray.
The rulers from their high positions of power, God has brought down low.
And those who were humble and lowly, God has elevated with dignity.
The hungry–– God has filled with fine food.
The rich––God has dismissed with nothing in their hands.
To Israel, God’s servant, God has given help,
As promised to our ancestors, remembering Abraham and his descendants in mercy forever.
Luke 1:46-55 The Voice