Sore and Afraid


Nancy Christy

…and the glory of the Lord shone about them: and they were sore afraid.                                                                                       Luke 2:9 – RSV


My father always read the Christmas story out loud, but my A+ in Reading meant the responsibility this Christmas was mine. I read it, repeatedly, to the dog.  Good practice, even if he wasn’t a good listener.  Still, I had questions.

I wanted to know why the shepherds were sore and afraid.  Dad said they weren’t sore shepherds.  They were very afraid.  “A peaceful night.  Then angels started swooping around and singing real loud and it was dark and the sheep got all excited.  How would you feel?”

If they were scared, it was brave of them to look for the Lord.  But, God put courage in their hearts and they found the manger.  When they peeked in, there wasn’t something scary.  There was a baby.  In a barn, just like the angels said.  When the angels sang, “Glory to God in the Highest…”  the baby smiled, like he had heard that song before.

Another question.  Why were the shepherds the very first people to see Baby Jesus?  I think, because they were sore and afraid, (no, sore afraid), but went to find Jesus anyway.david-cohen-180217


Dear Lord, may we in our lives always search for our Savior.  When we are  sore afraid, let Your courage lead our hearts to find Jesus in everything.  


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The Courage of God


Van Daele S Mabrito


For this is how much God loved the world—He gave His uniquely conceived Son as a gift. So now    everyone who believes in Him will never perish but       experience everlasting life.      John 3:16 TPT


On December 6, 1944, a vast armada of Allied forces hit Normandy and other beaches to liberate Western Europe from Nazi tyranny. The invasion required months of planning, 7000 naval vessels, 13,000 aircraft and two million men.

aaron-burden-170500    Two thousand years ago, another invasion occurred. The mission: to liberate the human race from satan’s tyranny.   The Liberator: the God  of Angel Armies. Imagine the massive forces required! Let’s take a peek at God’s invading army.

Oh, my plum pudding! God’s armada is … a pregnant teenage girl on a burro and her scrawny fiancé. Alone in the desert with bandits, wild animals and no Triple A. Finally, they arrive in town, and all the hotels turn them away. Motel 6 even turned the lights out.

This Christmas, we celebrate Jesus’ arrival and birth through Mary. God took a seemingly mind-boggling risk      entrusting His plan to save the human race to this humble teenager. Now the courage of God dares to entrust His mission of love to us to share His great gift of His Son and Kingdom with the people we meet this Christmas and each day.


Father, you risked the destiny of the human race to a teen,     and now to us.   Help us share your love wherever we go.


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By Jill English Johnston

Be strong, and fill your hearts with courage, all of you who hope in Adonai.

                                                  Psalm 31:25 CJB


snowy-mountain   Icy air and swirling snow blast into the car as Daddy opens the door and climbs in. “The roads are impassable.” In the backseat, Little Sister and I exchange troubled glances.

Mom wipes the foggy windshield with a sweep of her gloved hand and anxiously peers through. “Not how I expected to spend Christmas Eve.”

“We’ll be okay,” Daddy reassures her. “There’s a house nearby. I’m sure they’ll help.” He disappears back into the winter storm.

We sit tight, listening to the heater humming inside and the wind howling outside.

Before we start to worry, the car door opens again and a blue snowsuit, bundled in hat, scarf and gloves, looks in. I’m quickly scooped up, carried to a waiting snowmobile and tucked under blankets in front of a red snowsuit, then sped away into the world of white.

We stop in front of a big farmhouse where Daddy waits on the front porch. Moments later, Little Sister and Mom arrive.

“Come,” a smiling face says from the front door.  “We’ve been expecting you.”

We’re led into a bright, cozy room filled with others swathed in blankets, holding steaming cups and sharing plates of cookies. A crackling fire, laughter, and Christmas music drown out the tempest outside. Warmth replaces cold.  And fear dissolves like marshmallows in our cocoa.

Thank you, Father, for those with courage                                      to seek and save the lost.


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Christmas Gift Miracle


By Jim Hopper

I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.         Isaiah 41:10 NIV

The back of my small pickup truck was stuffed with gifts for the nursing home Christmas party. I had just changed clothes from work and rushed out the door to take the gifts. Suddenly, my toe caught in a crack in the driveway, and I found myself flying through the air.



Photo: Bob Ricca / unsplash

It was as if time stood still. I actually had time to think, “Oh, no! I’m going to land on my hands and face, get all scratched up and bloody, and the residents won’t get their gifts on time.” Then I thought, “Maybe I can do a somersault and roll out of this to minimize the damage.” So I did. Undaunted, I tucked my head, pushed off with one hand, and did a complete roll, landing on my feet.

Shaken, but determined to carry on, I had my wife check me over for dirt or damage. Except for a tiny scratch on my little finger, I was completely unscathed.

So the nursing home residents got their gifts on time. And as we sang about the miracle of Christmas, I silently marveled and thanked God for the miracle of His special care that evening in my driveway.


Lord, I praise you and thank you for the way you watch         over us and care for us when we’re about your business,         and ministering in your name.


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An Open Heart


By Sandra Lee Cleary


I will extol Thee, oh Lord, for Thou hast lifted me up and hast not let my enemies  rejoice over me.         Psalms 30:1 NAS


A dear friend of mine found out he had fathered a child with another woman long before he met his wife. Though the boy was well into his twenties, my friend was just now hearing about it.  He said. “I am so blessed as my wife is very supportive over this turn of events. So are my girls.”

I didn’t hear from him again for quite some time. I often wondered how things were going. You can imagine my surprise when I received a phone call two weeks before Christmas from my friend. “You will never guess what my beautiful bride gave me for Christmas.”

freestocks-org-171600 Since I’m not good at guessing games I answered. “No, what?”

He proceeded to tell me his wife presented him with a card and tickets for his son to come visit. She said they should have the opportunity to meet him.

I was just as excited for him as if this gift had been given to me. What a beautiful heart his wife showed him. After all, they’d been married for over twenty years, and when she found out about his child she opened her arms to embrace the son as if he were hers.


Thank you Lord for a loving, giving heart towards each other.


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The Good that Remains


By Nancy Christy

Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; Sing praises to His name, for it is lovely.

                            Psalms 135:3 NASB

Moving haltingly through the small garden, Marija passed where the store of potatoes and turnips were buried to protect them from the cold.  She knelt in the darkness, gently turning the soil with her fingers until the scent of mint unfurled in the icy air.  A piece of root with a single leaf was her meager harvest.  She lit a small fire and set a pot in the flames.

joanna-kosinska-454958  Firewood was such a blessing.  When homes were burned, dry wood was always there in the rubble.  Through each loss, Marija found something good remained.  When the church was destroyed and the priest arrested, there was such grief.  But the church lived, intact in their hearts.  The bonds between believers were the good that remained.

The mint settled into the boiling water and she raised the fragrant cup to her lips.  Days earlier, Marija had timidly placed Mary and Joseph in her window, waiting fearfully for a knock at her door.  Now, on this special night, she gently placed baby Jesus beside them.  Perhaps an old woman living in a shell of a house was beneath notice.

Marija spoke into the darkness…

I am thanking you, Father, that I live in this place, on this   night, to make witness that your Son, my Jesus, in all this dark world  is The Good That Remains. 


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Miss Grinch


By Hannah Walker


But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return…                      For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Luke 6:35 NKJV


Miss Grinch was a wrinkly pauper who had wandered the streets since she was a young girl. She was probably in her late seventies, but looked to be well into her hundreds. No one had looked upon her cold and dirtied frame for too long, and  if they happened to it was bound to be a disgusted gaze.

Without a friend in the world, other than an occasional   buzzard for a dinner date, she had given up all hope. So, when the annual Tree Lighting came around, she looked at this to be a final farewell to the pretty lights.

A group of carolers came up to the stage before the lit tree, and began to sing, “O Come All Ye Faithful.” It was beautiful, but because of all the dissonance that surrounded her she couldn’t make out what they were singing, until a little girl came onto the platform. She was probably only about seven, and her dark coils had beautiful red bows in it. She started with a prayer.20151210_192636-1.jpg

Miss Grinch felt a warm sensation inside her heart, never in her life had she heard such words of wisdom come from such a small child. These were the words that she quoted when her church asked for her testimony the following year.


Dear Jesus, please don’t let anyone be alone for Christmas. May your people care for the lonesome and broken this season and for all. For you love everyone, and we should too.


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