"She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them." (Luke 2:7b)
Last week we talked about "go" and unexpected, or expected, things happening? How are you at "going"? Are you someone who plans everything out or do you "take it as it comes"? Where I live we have had winter storms greatly affecting travel. Even the people who had things "planned" have discovered "unexpected" difficulties. In some places so many people have been stranded the people who live there have opened their homes so the people "driving through" could have a warm place to wait out the storm. "Unexpected" things happening on an "expected" trip causing need for "rooms."
Mary and Joseph have been "expecting" a baby. The trip to Bethlehem was "unexpected" to fulfil the need to register. Then they encounter more "unexpected" when they get to Bethlehem because there is NO "room" available for them especially as Mary is starting to have the baby. Now think of the Innkeeper for a minute. He probably "expected" to have some of the travelors staying but the number of people was probably "unexpected." What do you do when SO MANY people need a place to stay? What do you do for a young couple who not only need a place to stay she is about to have a baby?!
If you think about it we are like the Innkeeper. As Caregivers we have so many things needing to get done, schedules to keep, family to care for (besides our "person"), work to be done and the holidays happening. Like the Innkeeper - what are we to do? We need to remember to take care of OURSELVES by making SURE we have room for Jesus. We need to take the time, and make the room, for Jesus. With Jesus we have the strength to continue. With Jesus we can do the "expected" and handle the "unexpected." Something to think about.........
"When Joseph wokeup, he did just what the angel from God commanded and took Mary as his wife." (Matthew 1:14)
So...has anything unexpected happened this week? Has anything you were expecting happened? Did you get to, or have to, go somewhere? Did you feel God's presence? Hear God speaking to you - asking you to "go and, or, do"? Were you ready to go, or, do? Did you go or do?
The readings today are helping us to know the Messiah, Emmanuel, God with us. Isaiah is pointing out the virgin birth of the Messiah to come. (Isaiah 7:14) Paul is helping the new believers in Rome understand "the rest of the story." (Romans 1) Paul is also pointing out this IS the Gospel - the good news - the Messiah has come and is with us. The Gospel reading is showing us how God uses each and all of us. Joseph, like Mary, is a believer, a righteous man who was "faithful to the law." (v. 19) Then he has a visitor, in a dream, who explains more of what is happening and Joseph does what the angel from God "commanded." (v. 24) He went, all the way to Mary's house, and made her his wife. Maybe all the way across town, maybe next door or, maybe, just a couple of blocks away. They both lived in Nazareth - small town.
So...are you ready to go? Next door? A couple of blocks? Maybe all the way across town? Can you follow where God is leading? Is it expected? Unexpected? Can you share where you have felt, or are feeling, God' presence? Something to think about......
"it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy." (Isaiah 35:2)
How are you feeling? It has been a hectic week, in a busy month, in a "crazy" year - so how are you feeling? Pretty much the way you expected to feel? Are all the preparations working? How much are you still waiting on? In the midst of all the prepwork, all the meetings, all the shopping is anything "unexpected" happening? Where are you seeing, and feeling, God? Is there "joy" in there somewhere?
The readings are about working while waiting - even about how hard the waiting can be. Isaiah is writing to the Hebrew people in exile. They have gone through a lot, are still going through it and it will be a while before they can go "home." Isaiah is reminding them God KEEPS God's promises and IS with them (and us) - even the desert "will burst into bloom." (Isaiah 35:2) James is encouraging believers (including us) to be patient and to keep on keeping on. (James 5:7) Jesus' cousin, John, is wondering what is happening. Jesus is quoting Isaiah when Jesus points out healings and the "good news proclaimed." (Matthew 11:5) Each, and all, causing people, like the desert, to "rejoice greatly and shout for joy."
Years ago, when I first started being our Dad's caregiver, he went to a grief support group. He wasn't sure about going but got to where he would admit it was a good thing. One of the things that helped him, and continues to help me, was SOJAG - Sudden Outbursts of Joy and Gladness. In the midst of everything happening, how busy we are, how frustrated we can get there CAN be "Sudden Outbursts of Joy and Gladness" - SOJAG. So I ask again...where have you seen, and felt, God this week? Are you feeling joy?
"May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had," (Romans 15:5)
It has been a crazy week.... The weather is definitely changing to winter. The schedule is changing to include family get togethers, friend visits, extra meetings for work, end of the year things for both work and household all added to the "regular" busy schedule. Then, just to add to everything else, there is the Advent study to do and (weather permitting) be at the group study to discuss. And now, another thing to add, where (and how) have you seen (felt) God this week?
The readings, today, are talking about God being with us Emmanuel. The power of the Holy Spirit and the encouragement given with, and by, God. Paul is encouraging the Romans, everyone who has read (or is reading) of the encouragement the Scriptures give. (Romans 15) Isaiah is reminding us of the connection between Jesus, "the shoot from the stump of Jesse," who will have "the Spirit of the Lord." (Isaiah 11:1) And John the Baptist is reminding us Jesus has baptized us "with the Holy Spirit and fire." (Matthew 3:11) All three Scriptures definitely giving encouragement!
So I ask, again, where have you seen God this week? How have you felt God with you, this week? AND have you shared these times? Have you encouraged others with how you have seen, felt, know God is with you? Yes, it is a busy time of the year. Yes, as Caregivers, we are ready to just about go crazy. Yes, there are a LOT Of things happening all around us. This all makes for the best time to be encouraging each other. Something to think about.......
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.