As I get ready for Christmas this year I find myself in a much different place than I did a year ago. As I looked back at what I blogged last year, my heart was filled with PEACE! I didn't know what 2011 would bring me when I wrote these words but they have such sweet meaning today!
Here is what I entered a year ago:
"For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." ~Isaiah 9:6
I came across this verse in my quiet time this morning. I have always heard it and even sang it a few times in Jr.High and High School choir growing up. But this morning a new meaning.
I was reading in Matthew chapter two where this specific prophecy (Isaiah 9:6) is fulfilled. A baby is born and the Magi come to give Him gifts and they bow down and worship Him.
What a magical moment! The King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Peace coming to earth!
But what I had never really realized came next...Herod sent out men who went from house to house searching for Jesus to kill Him. They took every male under the age of 2 yrs old and killed them. We hear a mothers lament in Matthew 2:18...it is Rachel weeping for her children because they are no more.
Can you even imagine? My heart aches just thinking of someone coming to my door and taking my sons and killing them right in front of me. All because a proud king, King Herod, refused to acknowledge a higher King than himself.
What happened to the Prince of Peace. Where is the peace?
Well...I realize now that peace is not in our circumstances. It is in our hearts!
Right after our Savior was born, there was pain. But after the pain, there is a promise!
This is Jeremiah's prophecy about Rachel's pain.
This is what the Lord says: "A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more."
This is what the Lord says: "Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded," declares the Lord.
"They will return from the land of the enemy. So there is hope for your future," declares the Lord.
"Your children will return to their own land." ~Jeremiah 31:15, 16
God is sovereign. There is purpose in our pain. When you walk through the fire, He promises His children that they will not be burned. When they walk through the water, they will not drown! (Isaiah 43)
In Bethlehem there was weeping and wailing because of King Herod's evil plot to kill innocent children. But God has given us a promise..there will be a day when He comes for His children and there will be weeping no more!!! Praise God!!
You may have pain right now. You may be going through one of the toughest times in your life so far. But be encouraged that there is Hope! God is Sovereign! There is Peace! Peace in knowing that we have a loving Sovereign God who holds our hand through every pain in our life. He never leaves us! Our precious Savior was still the "Prince of Peace" in the midst of Rachel's tears for her children. He is ever-present! He never turns His back.
I need to be reminded of this because my heart hurts with pain sometimes. Sometimes I want to bang my head up against a wall and scream, "WHY?" In all honesty, at times I bought into the lie that I must deserve such pain.
The truth is...my life is simply a path that God has orchestrated to draw me closer to Him and the purpose He has for me.
So this Christmas I am reminded of a sweet baby, Jesus! But I am also reminded of the cross. And in both, we have a Prince of Peace!
These words are an encouragement to me today because I was in the midst of a pity party saying to God, "Why Lord? Why such pain? Why do I find myself facing another Christmas without parents to share it with and family hundreds of miles away and a circumstance that I feel I didn't sign up for?"
And...He reminded me that in the midst of the pain there is a promise! This WILL be used for HIS glory! No matter my circumstance I will praise my GOD because He is faithful and true!
So even though this is a Christmas that is very different from the ones I have experienced in the past, I will choose to rejoice in the fact that we have a savior that cares about every detail of our lives and wants to use them to transform us into HIS image!
Merry Christmas my sweet friends and family!!