And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them:
and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Luke 2:8-14 - KJV
May the wonder of the story of Christ's birth speak to you in new and fresh ways as you celebrate this year.
For me, this time 'away from the church' has revealed what a fine line it is between experiencing God's peace and being overwhelmed with the cares of life, between trust and fear, hope and sorrow, joy and despair; much like it must have felt for so many at the time of Christ's advent when life under Roman rule had led to a sense of hopelessness.
I'm just being honest in saying, I have had these thoughts of hopelessness, these fears. But, in those moments, the Spirit of God takes me back to the truth of the Holy Scriptures, to the core teachings of our faith, and my strength is renewed. The coming of the Lord Jesus as the babe of Bethlehem is one of those foundational truths. That God sent His Son to redeem and restore mankind is at the very heart of what we believe as Christians. His coming provides a means to experience God's abiding peace and joy in a world that is sometimes filled with turmoil and misery.
May you hear the the voice of Jesus say to you this Christmas, I came to give life with joy and abundance. (John 10:10 - The Voice.) May He speak peace into your lives. I give you the gift of peace (John 20:21 - The Voice).
We want to take this opportunity to thank you for your grace and kindness throughout this year; you have blessed and encouraged us in ways that words simply cannot capture. May the blessing of our Lord rest upon you and those you love as you celebrate the joy of the season. Merry Christmas, friends!