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Christmas

Unexpected Places

When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul. Psalm 94:19 (NIV)

At a time, several years ago, when I felt weighed down by the grunge of this world, God provided a reminder of His presence at a Chicago airport.

As I waited to board, an elderly woman sitting alone on the row in front of me attempted to stand. Half-way up her foot became entangled in the strap of her purse, causing her to fall. A nearby desk attendant immediately came to her rescue. This kind young man carefully helped the shaken and upset woman back into her seat.

Awestruck by his compassionate and caring manner, I could hardly take my eyes from the beautiful scene unfolding in front of me. As he spoke with such tenderness, her frantic spirit began to calm. He gently patted her arm, and the contrast of his black hand against her white skin touched me in a way I cannot explain. I don’t recall ever having seen the character of Jesus so clearly displayed.

Turns out she was at the wrong gate for her flight, but I feel sure God put her there for a reason.

In a world so full of despair, the Spirit of God still shows up in unexpected places, just as He did so long ago in the unlikely place of a grungy stable, offering hope to a hopeless world.

Father, Help me shine Jesus to a lost and dark world.

How can you bring the joy of Jesus into someone’s life this Christmas season? It can be as simple as stopping on the street to talk to a neighbor or leaving cookies/flowers and an encouraging note at someone’s door.

You are Mine by Karen Sheppard

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name, you are mine.
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you. Isaiah 43:1 NIV

 Recently, I kept my three-year-old granddaughter while her parents were away. To delay her nap, she gladly welcomed snuggle-time in my lap. However, just minutes before, she lay sprawled on the floor, loudly protesting sleep. This bouncy, spirited little redhead wrapped her arms tightly around my neck and completely relaxed. As she rested her head on my chest, her breath tickled my chin. I began to sing, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey.”  My annoyance at her tantrum quickly faded. I deeply desired for her to know that she was mine, and I loved her.

In our pain and despair, we sometimes lose hope and shake a fist at God. Our kind and merciful Father responds by declaring us family. His open hands reach out and pull us close as He whispers in our ear, “You are Mine and I will provide strength and comfort through your sleepless nights.

Father, as we enter the hectic Christmas season, quiet our restless spirits. Restore our hope and let us never forget that we are Yours.