Aches and Praise Four Hundred & Thirty Two

December 19, 2019
Dear friends,
On Sunday night, I was looking for something interesting to watch on television and found a programme where several people were inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame. Not as well-known as the one in Hollywood, California, nevertheless, it honours the achievements of many outstanding individuals and groups. One of those honoured on Sunday was Cindy Klassen. I knew that she had an amazing career as a speed skater, but I didn’t know that she had wanted to play for the Canadian Olympic hockey team when she was younger. That fact was displayed in a video tribute before Ms. Klassen was presented with her award. What wasn’t shown were the milestones in her spiritual journey, beginning with her prayer to receive the Lord Jesus Christ as her personal Saviour when she was a young girl. More about her faith in God is revealed in the following article:

Near my desk at home, I have a poem entitled “Don’t Quit.” There is no author’s name on it, but it evidently was written by someone who experienced adversity. It reads:

When things go wrong
as they sometimes will,
when the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
when the funds are low, and the debts are high,
and you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
when care is pressing you down a bit …
rest if you must – but don’t you quit.
Success is failure turned inside out,
the silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
and you never can tell how close you are,
it may be near when it seems afar,
so stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit,
it’s when things go wrong that you mustn’t quit.

As we look forward to celebrating Christmas, do we think about what Mary experienced? After the startling announcement by the angel Gabriel that she would give birth to the Son of God, Mary began to prepare for a life that was far different than she had imagined. In Luke 1:39-56, we read that Mary went to stay with Elizabeth for about three months. Although we don’t know exactly where Elizabeth lived, Mary may well have travelled more than 100 kilometres to visit her cousin. The journey would not have been an easy one, traversing hilly terrain, providing a preview of the trip that Mary and Joseph would soon make from Nazareth to Bethlehem.

Why did Mary go to see Elizabeth? Was it to help her with her pregnancy? To tell her cousin about her own pregnancy? To receive help? The Bible doesn’t give us answers to these questions, but we know that the Lord uses family members and friends to help us in times of adversity. We might think that we can work things out by ourselves, but others can offer much-needed assistance.

The Lord loved mankind so much that He left the splendor of heaven to come to Earth to be born in a smelly stable. There was no room for Mary, Joseph and Jesus in the inn in Bethlehem. I wonder if the innkeeper lived long enough to learn who Jesus was (and is).

Let’s make this Christmas a time of adoration of the One who came to save us from our sins. He is the God of wonders and worthy of all our praise!

Scripture for the weekend: “For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name.” Luke 1:49 (NKJV)

Thought for the weekend: “The virgin birth is foretold in the Old Testament. The prophet Isaiah writes, ‘Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel’ (Isa. 7:14). The Hebrew word for virgin here is almah, which means a woman who is pure and virtuous, who has not been intimate with a man. The word appears only seven times in the Hebrew Scriptures, and in every appearance it refers to a chaste, unmarried woman, not just a ‘girl,’ as some critics suggest. In the Greek, the word parthenos means exactly the same thing: a woman who has not known a man – a virgin.” – Dr. David Jeremiah (from “The Jeremiah Study Bible”)

By His grace,