Embracing The Eternal Gift – The Observer December 2023

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Christmas, 1785 – Under the Scope December 2023
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Troop C Traffic Advisory Update: All Roadways Back Open
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Christmas, 1785 – Under the Scope December 2023
December 7, 2023

The star shines over the manger of christmas of Jesus Christ. panorama

The heartache of this world is real. There’s an aching undercurrent of grief in all of us, if we’re honest. There’s times when the grief – caused by loss – reaches the surface and peaks. We grieve, recover, and return to life. But the grief is always there. It ebbs and flows, sometimes more, sometimes less.

So many so close to us have experienced the deepest of griefs this year. Our heart has shattered with them. So many so far away are living in war-shattered homes and have lost people and places they love.

It can feel too big to understand and too much to bear – too close to home and too far to help.

I’ve sat stunned as loved ones share tragedies beyond comprehension. I’ve read news articles that make my stomach hurt.

The grief of this world can easily overcome the fragile capacity of this heart.

So when the angel said unto them: “Fear not; for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people” my heart leaps within. It feels what the shepherds must have felt – alone in the darkness, surrounded by bleating sheep, but approached by an angel who tells them of the greatest joy this world has known.

It’s a palpable joy, tangible with its intensity; so deep you can feel it all over. Great joy.

It’s what the world ached for without even knowing they were aching. This great joy would come at a great price, with great sacrifice, with great pain. But the story unfolding before the shepherds in the field would be the greatest story ever told.

The shepherds took heart and followed the star that led them to joy. Shepherded their herds all the way to where the baby lay in a manger, his small body hiding the greatest treasure of all time.

It’s a treasure we still seek. A joy we still want. A longing unspoken.

Joy endures, even with the greatest of grief. It’s a joy that can’t be shaken, stolen or ruined. Because joy is different from momentary happiness. It’s of eternal significance, a forever gift that remains.

Simple shepherds being told of the greats of gifts. And here’s the greatest secret of the story – the shepherds run to find this great joy. The angels give them the news and they go. They seek the greatest gift the world will ever be given. This great joy announced by angels and welcomed by the world.

So this Christmas, I will do the same. I seek the One who gives joy that can’t be tainted by this world. I seek the One who restores all the broken bits and pieces. I seek the One who saves my soul.

It’s a seeking that promises finding. “Seek and you shall find” is a promise spoken long after the shepherds have finished their quest. So I seek. Seek Him. Seek his promises. Seek his hope. Seek his joy. Because I don’t have much of my own, so His will carry me through. And it does.

In the face of all the losses of this world, His joy reminds me of the greatest of gifts. All is not lost, all is not hopeless. He’s here and ready to bring joy.

May this season bring you closer to the giver of joy, closer to the savior of souls, closer to the one who came to seek and save all of us who were lost.

May you look to heaven as the shepherds did all those years ago and receive good tidings of great joy.