Hearing the beautiful words of the 23rd Psalm, read yesterday at church, has left an impression on my heart. I've never associated this passage with Christmas but the truth resonated and the season added a fresh perspective.
The Lord is my shepherd;
I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
What a powerful thought that the baby the shepherds came to worship was their true Shepherd, he always had been, he understood them, he knew exactly what they needed. Because the Shepherd has come he leads us in a new way, guiding us in peace, caring for our needs, in person.
Even in the darkest valley. I'm reminded of a passage in Isaiah 9. "The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine... For a child is born to us, a son is given to us." This Christmas the dark valley, the shadow of death, has hovered over our family. Immanuel takes on a whole knew meaning. Through all of life's dark valley's Immanuel is the reality of God walking with us.
Jesus' arrival puts into perspective that death, for those who trust him, is just a shadow. It's his goodness and love that pursue us, not judgement and wrath, and when we pass through the shadow from this life to the next, Immanuel will be a face to face reality. His house will be our home forever. "His government and its peace will never end."
Jesus didn't come for a brief visit thousands of years ago, he came to stay. He came to lead us home. Whatever your life holds this Christmas, joy or grief, or a mixture of both, I trust Jesus will walk with you. That his goodness and love will pursue you, that he will guide you in right paths, and give your heart rest. Merry Christmas friends!