Beneath the Surface

sydney-harbour-fireworks

All over the world last night there were events such as this, where millions of people gathered to celebrate a new year.

While they had the public’s attention, the real power in 2014 was being unleashed in thousands of smaller gatherings ranging from 5 or so to perhaps a thousand.

New Year’s prayer vigils in every little town and many little churches invoked God’s blessing in their communities in the year ahead.

I took part in such a meeting, from 9pm to midnight- and it was the best three hours I have invested in a long time.

Happy New Year!

Reflection on Jeremiah 31:7-14

joy

The Lord commands us “Rejoice!”

For He will restore and pardon

Those whom He has punished

The nation of His heart.

Where we are scattered,

He will gather like Israel

restored from the four corners

Like sheep gathered under a shepherd

What bounty, what provision

For a nation, food and wine

For a people joy and gladness

All at the hands of the Lord.

Do you know Him?

Do you know the Lord?

Turn to Him and come back home

You will find deep joy in Him.

Reflection on Matthew 1:18-25

Scripture
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name of Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

Observation
Mary discovers she is pregnant by the power of the Holy Spirit, Joseph decides to divorce her quietly.
An angel appears to Joseph telling him that the child has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. She will have a son who is to be named Jesus.
This all happened in order to fulfil the prophecy of Isaiah- The virgin will conceive and bear a son and they will call him Immanuel- God with us.

Application
The Christmas story is told so often that we become overly familiar with it, losing all the wonder that should be there.
Apart from the outrageous claim that this baby conceived outside of marriage is the Son of God, there is the extraordinary faith of two ordinary people.
Mary, a virgin, meekly (probably anxiously) accepts her responsibility to bear and nurture the Saviour.
Joseph, a man of great integrity and gentleness, comes to accept the preposterous story of the baby’s origin and plays his own part in raising the son.
Mary and Joseph were uniquely equipped for their roles. When God calls us to a task, he always supplies everything we need.

Prayer
Thank you  Father for the example of Mary and Joseph in accepting your commission. Help me to discern your plan for my life and to follow that plan. Amen.