Dear Faithful Friends,
Thank you for your commitment to pray, both for our prodigals and for revival among us.
While many of us celebrated the birth of our Savior with joy and thanksgiving yesterday, some did so with heavy, burdened hearts. It may have been because of a partner cold in heart and away for the Lord, or a son or daughter unwilling to meet with the rest of the family over Christmas dinner, or other problems involving sickness, death, or some personal distress. The experience of life is filled with two dichotomies: joy and sorrow.
Both joy and sorrow characterized the life of Mary the young mother of Jesus. Luke records how Mary, having received the news of what would happen, went in haste to the hill country in the land of Judah to visit the older Elizabeth, who was pregnant with John the Baptizer. The reason for her sudden departure was probably due to the shame, criticism, and hatred of those who did not know or believe what was really happening. Later in Luke, Jesus talked about the unbelief in the town of Nazareth. What a heavy burden was hers to bear!
Despite this, while visiting Elizabeth, Mary burst forth in a delightful song of praise, magnifying and rejoicing in God her Savior. It was a sweet song of joy in the night. Despite the hurt she was enduring and would face in the future, she was greatly humbled to be a servant of the Lord in this most noble assignment, and felt the blessedness of being chosen by God for such a task. Her song is beautiful as it progresses from personal appreciation to full-blown exaltation of God's wondrous character and plan. She said, “He has looked on the humble estate of His servant…He who is mighty has done great things for me…His mercy is for those who fear Him…He has shown His strength with His right arm…He has brought down the mighty…He has filled the hungry…He has helped His servant Israel…as He spoke to Abraham and to his offspring forever” (Lk 1:46-55).
Whatever your trial is today, focusing on Jesus will not remove every hurt and pain, but it will fill your heart with wonder and worship toward Him. May it be so today as we continue in prayer.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,
Bryan and Rachel