Friday, December 6, 2019

Devotionals for the Heart: Hope for your heart and the holiday season

Hope Beyond the Holidays: Celebrating the REAL reason for this season

A devotional by Mirachelle Canada

“And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord.” Luke 1:45 (ESV)

As the leaves fall from the trees and the cold ushers us into the winter season, let us also welcome in a season of hope as we close in on the end of another year.

In this time of holidays, family gatherings, and giving of gifts let us be reminded and of the greatest gift, the Lord Jesus, the Prince of Peace that came at an unexpected time and in the most unique of ways.

In Luke 1 (read it in The Holy Bible), Elizabeth, wife of the priest Zechariah, was barren. The Lord looked on both Zechariah and Elizabeth as righteous in His sight (Luke 1:6) and because of this He chose to bless them with a son, John, who would usher in the coming of Jesus. But Zechariah did not believe such a blessing was possible because he was old, and his wife was advanced in years (Luke 1:18). So, God caused Zechariah to be mute until His promise was fulfilled in the birth of John. A time of silence was needed to still Zechariah’s spirit. He had to die to self-doubt, as a tree dies in winter.

Though Elizabeth’s husband could not tell her what transpired, she had to believe. For five months, she kept herself hidden, knowing God would take away the doubt and disbelief of people who would not think Zechariah’s visitation was possible (Luke 1:24-25). Though she couldn’t see what was going to happen, she chose to believe. Elizabeth was like the life force of a tree that lives dormant and hidden beneath the ground until the time of new birth.

Six months later, an angel appeared to Mary, a virgin, who was engaged to be married. He proclaimed that she would give birth to God’s Son, Jesus Christ, by the power of the Holy Spirit. Though Mary didn’t completely understand how this was possible (Luke 1:34), she accepted the angel’s decree and welcomed it as God’s humble servant. The angel also told Mary of her cousin Elizabeth’s miraculous pregnancy and proclaimed, “For nothing will be impossible with God” (Luke 1:37). Mary welcomed the gift of God and the unknown. Like a strong tree in winter, Mary would stand firm and weather the storms because her roots were firmly planted in the promise of God.

When Mary visited her cousin, Elizabeth’s unborn child leapt in her womb upon hearing Mary’s voice (Luke 1:41) and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She received the news of the coming of God’s Son and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:42) She was humbled that the mother of the Lord would come to visit her and knew Mary would be blessed because of her belief in God’s plan (Luke 1:45). Like a tree that raises its branches in praise toward the sun in all seasons, these women gave thanks and praise to God for His great mercy.

The time then came when Elizabeth gave birth to her son and her relatives saw what God had done for her and rejoice (Luke 1:58). At the child’s naming ceremony where he would have inherited his father’s name, Elizabeth instead called him John as the angel had decreed, which confused the people. As soon as Zechariah confirmed the name in writing to the people, his voice was restored, and he blessed God (Luke 1:65). The story of John’s birth went out among the people because the hand of God was on him. John was the evidence of God’s faithfulness, like the new shoots that appear on a tree, signaling the closing of winter and paving the way to renewal of life.

Finally, a few months after John’s birth, Jesus the Savior and bringer of all new, and renewal, of life was born in a stable. He was laid in a manger cut from a tree that was sacrificed and molded into something new in order to hold the world’s most precious gift.

Jesus is the essence of all life!

Remember to celebrate Him as we go into this Christmas season.

Author Bio:
Mirachelle Canada is a writer, playwright, screenwriter and theatre director/producer from Northern Virginia. She teaches television production at C.D. Hylton Senior High School.

She earned her Master of Fine Arts in Script & Screenwriting from Regent University and is a member of Act One: Hollywood Film & Television Writing Program, American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), ACFW Virginia Chapter, The Jerry Jenkins Writers Guild, and Your Novel Blueprint.

Mirachelle is passionate about awakening creativity and the gifts of God in everyone. She is currently working on her first historical fiction novel set during WWII, inspired by her time studying theatre education in London, England.

In her spare time, she also writes and directs Christmas and Easter passion plays at Christ Chapel Assembly of God in Woodbridge, Va.

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