A Frightening/Comforting Holiday Reminder – That depends . . .

One thing we can never escape
Is ourselves.
No matter how loved we are
And how full our lives
We are still solitary beings
And when you come right down to it,
We’re often alone.
Some live alone.
Others are only alone in the dark
once everyone else has gone to sleep
alone with their own thoughts,
their solitary selves.
We make important decisions in those moments alone.
Lying in the dark before everyone else wakes up,
Staring at a screen in an office cubicle,
Waiting in a hospital gown for a CT scan,
Staring down a darkened driveway watching for headlights to appear.
I remember lying on a cold table in an empty outpatient room
Having just been informed that I was losing my unborn child,
My second in less than six months,
Feeling alone
And making decisions about how to respond to this unwelcome news
Keenly aware that God and who knows what other heavenly host were listening in
On my internal dialog.
Funny, it didn’t feel as though they were judging, just waiting, witnessing, holding their collective heavenly breath.
Because, that’s the truth of it, that even when we’re alone
We aren’t.
We don’t need social media outlets,
Status updates, texts, posts, and tweets,
To be seen.
Hebrews 12 says we are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses
And Psalm 139 tells us God knows our every thought.
We’re visible from Heaven’s throne.
Which is why I think God was so interested in shepherds.
They’re the scene-stealers of the nativity story
But that would have baffled the people of Israel in Biblical times.
Shepherds were of no account.
Shepherds were taken for granted.
Shepherds were largely invisible and spent hours and hours
Alone.
But not unseen.
God and the heavenly host witnessed their acts of bravery
And their tomfoolery;
Heard their bawdy songs
And their prayers
Knew when they cried for home
And when they went out of their way to care for the sheep in their charge.
He didn’t need social media
To let Him know which of them were His sheep
And which belonged to another fold.
Likewise,
Contrary to the message of popular Christmas music,
It’s Jesus who sees us when we’re sleeping
And knows when we’re awake.
What happens, unwitnessed by other humans, when we’re alone
Matters on an eternal level
Which is meant to be a comfort not a concern.
In a time when most people feel the only lives that matter are ones that are appreciated by the masses,
Christmas comes around to remind us
That God chose to send His son before we invented mass media.
He is a God who notices, devoted teen-age girls, shepherds with their flocks by night, humble carpenters,
and wise men searching the scriptures for the truth.
Unnoticed on earth, their faces appeared on the Jumbo-tron of Heaven and they earned fame on the only dimension that matters.
Are you alone? No. Never
Be encouraged or challenged by that information – whichever one moves you closer to Jesus.

While shepherds watched Their flocks by night All seated on the ground  The angel of the Lord came down
And glory shone around And glory shone around

“Fear not,” he said,For mighty dread Had seized their troubled minds “Glad tidings of great joy I bring
To you and all mankind,To you and all mankind.”

“To you in David’s Town this day Is born of David’s line The Savior who is Christ the Lord
And this shall be the sign And this shall be the sign.”

“The heavenly Babe You there shall find To human view displayed And meanly wrapped In swathing bands
And in a manger laid And in a manger laid.”

Thus spake the seraph, And forthwith Appeared a shining throng Of angels praising God, who thus
Addressed their joyful song Addressed their joyful song

“All glory be to God on high And to the earth be peace; Goodwill henceforth From heaven to men
Begin and never cease Begin and never cease!”

I’ve seen the lightning flashing, I’ve heard the thunder roll
I’ve felt sin’s breakers dashing, trying to conquer my soul
I’ve heard the voice of Jesus telling me to fight on
He promised never to leave me, no, never alone
Never alone, never alone, oh, never
Never alone, never alone
He’ll never leave you alone
The world’s fierce winds are blowing, temptations sharp and keen
I felt a peace in knowing my Savior stands between
He stands to shield me from danger when earthly friends are gone
He promised never to leave me, no, never alone
Never alone, never alone, oh, never
Never alone, never alone
He’ll never leave you alone
He’ll never leave you alone
When in affliction’s valley, I’m treading the road with care
My Savior helps me to carry a cross too heavy to bear
My feet entangled with briers, ready to cast me down
He’ll never leave you alone
When in affliction’s valley, I’m treading the road with care
My Savior helps me to carry a cross too heavy to bear
My feet entangled with briers, ready to cast me down
He’ll never leave you alone
Never, never, never
Never, never, never
Never, never, never
Oh, He’ll never leave you alone
 

 



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