“And provide for those who grieve in Zion - to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair." - Isaiah 61:3 (NIV)
The holidays can be a time of family and reflecting on the reason we celebrate, but for some, it can be a time of loneliness, stress and so on.
There was a time in my life where the traditions of Christmas meant so much. I used to have a three little Christmas trees and each tree had its own theme. I’d read the Christmas story each Christmas morning before opening gifts and the nativity scene would have the baby Jesus placed in the manger Christmas morning, along with other sentimental preparations.
But we know we have an enemy who roams about seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8) He devoured the traditions, the joy, the tender thoughts of Christmas, by using others to snip away at everything that was dear to me. Little by little I had nothing left of what I was or what life was like.
For many, life is so heavy that getting through a day is a great accomplishment and the next thing we know Christmas is staring us in the face and our hearts can fill with dread.
Through loss, through change, through hardship Jesus relates to us on this holiday. His comfortable throne was now a manger, His heavenly robe was now a garment, He relied on others to care for Him even though He created them. Through His eyes He saw the day He would willingly lay down His life onto a cross made from a tree He created; nailed and crucified on that cross by those He loved.
We are not alone this holiday season. Immanuel, God with us. (Matthew 1:23) Jesus is with us. He was with us through the loss, through the change, through the hardship and would love for us to remember how much He loves us and to know we can celebrate Him together wherever we are and whatever we have been through.
By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. -1 John 4:9
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come into him and eat with him, and he with me. - Revelation 3:20
Heavenly Father, thank You that You remind us that You are with us and that we can take our mourning and receive Your oil of joy, we can remove the spirit of despair and put on the garment of praise because You have bestowed upon us a crown of beauty instead of ashes. May those who have not received You invite You to make their heart Your home.
This devotion by author, Terrie Miles, is exclusively and solely shared with permission to New Beginnings Church. Any unauthorized printed reproduction, sharing or use of this material is prohibited.