Shine Your everlasting Light, Lord,
upon my every hope, my every fear, my every moment.

Focus of the Month: Christmas Carols

Gathered around the family piano in the foyer of our home, my sister and I lifted our voices in song on a cold, December day. Page after page, our nine-year-old voices rang out the old familiar sounds. Having been raised in church, we understood the miracle of Christmas – the gift of Jesus. But in our innocence and inexperience, we couldn’t possibly have understood the magnitude of this Gift. Yet, in contentment and excitement, we continued to flip the pages and fill our home with sweet melodies.

When we finished singing the songs we knew, my sister confessed, “My favorite is ‘Oh Little Town of Bethlehem!'” To our surprise, that was mine, too! Wrapped up in the moment, our voices again joined in singing… “Yet in thy dark street shineth, the everlasting Light; the hopes and fears of all the years are met in Thee tonight.” Tears welled up in our eyes as we experienced our own intimate Christmas miracle. Emmanuel. God was truly with us.

As I reflect on this precious memory, I’m in awe at how the Light of Christ had already impacted our sweet little lives with such magnitude. I’m in wonder of how God shows Himself so real and true to us, if we just pause to experience Him. I’m overwhelmed with gratitude that He had given me a sister with whom I could sing, laugh, love and worship God. But even more than that, I’m amazed that through all the years of creation, at any time, and at any age – God fulfills ALL our hopes and answers ALL our fears – all at once, once and for all – through His gift of Jesus!

Whether a child, a young adult filtering through the mixed messages in the world, a middle-aged woman battling mid-life issues, or entering the golden years – God knows our hopes; He knows our fears; and He has provided the One who meets them all! Jesus is our hope for tomorrow, our strength for today, and the answer for every fear. He calms the storms, ceases the winds, feeds the hungry, gives rest to the weary, heals the sick, strengthens the weak, restores the broken. He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He changes not. He is the beginning and the end, the first and the last. He is the Great I AM.

Somehow, He revealed Himself to my sister and I in that precious moment of caroling. We had no idea of our future hopes, struggles, fears…but He did. I believe He gave us that moment wrapped up together in His presence to be a strength to us in the years to come – that we would know Him as our peace, our comfort, our strength, the fulfillment of every hope, the answer for every fear.

No matter where you are today, no matter the struggles you’ve endured, know Jesus was given as the most precious and powerful gift for YOU. Don’t lose sight of your hopes. Don’t allow fear to stop you from pursuing your purpose. Let the everlasting Light of Christ shine on the darkened paths in your life. Take time to pause and worship God – even in the simplicity of a familiar Christmas carol. Know that your every hope, your every fear is truly met in Jesus – at any age, at any time, in any circumstance – in every moment.

Holding Fast to Hope,

Maryann

Song Reference: “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem,” 1868.  Lyrics by Phillips Brooks. Music by Lewis Redner. “Christmas in Song,” Copyright 1947. Scripture References: Matthew 18:20; Matthew 1:23; Psalm 62:5; Psalm 34:4; Luke 8:24; Mark 6:41; Matthew 11:28; Matthew 12:15; Hebrews 13:8; Revelation 22:13.