By Jennie Mayes
“There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master.” (The Message)
How fitting that the verses assigned to me have at the core of their message, do not worry. I have worried about things from my very first memory in life. Sometimes, I worry about the big things we all do, like a family member who is ill or a friend who is struggling through hard times. But most of the time I worry about things of no consequence at all: Will I hit all the red lights on the way to work? Will my team win Amazing Race this season?
The shepherds who were tending their flocks that holy night were doing what we all do: their job. Their profession was not one of glamour or status, but was necessary and needed. While going about their typical routine, they had an encounter that would change their lives. Were they like me and worrying about problems big and small? And how did their view of problems change after their interaction with the angel? Though they were fearful in that moment, were they able to change their lives moving forward with the knowledge that God and now Christ would be with them always?
There have been moments in my life when God has captured my attention and my soul. In those times, I’m reminded that I don’t need to worry. I can rest in the knowledge that the love of God will carry me. I pray that you too will be able to fear not and rest this Advent season.
By Debra Arredondo
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you; I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
How many of us really understand that peace is our inheritance? Peace is what Jesus left us. It cannot be taken away from us under any circumstance. But how many of us remember this peace He has left us?
I am a natural worrier. I spend far too much time worrying about things that I have absolutely no control over. Does it stop me from worrying? Not so much. But there are times when I feel I cannot handle one more thing and He speaks to me. Almost like He taps me on the shoulder to remind me, “Woman, don’t you remember what I said the night before I was tortured and crucified? I give you peace right in the midst of trouble, distress, turmoil and heartache. Do not let your heart be troubled or afraid.”
When my brother, Bob, passed away, the family was gathered around his bed in his home. As he slipped away, I was beside myself. How would I ever get over this? It was a selfish thought, I guess, because I wasn’t fearful of where Bob was going; I knew. But I was afraid for myself. How would I go back to living as I had before he left me? Who would be there for me? Who would love me?
That day, I felt Jesus reminding me again. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; do not be afraid.” I do not have to be afraid about never being with Bob again; I will. Nor do I have to worry about the health of my family, the safety of my family, or any of the other many things I worry about daily. He promised me peace. I just have to remember to accept it.
Prayer: Father, you have made me rich. Thank you for this gift of peace. Thank You for whatever I am going through regardless of how difficult it is. Help me to always remember to accept your peace, that it might free my mind of worry and fear.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear… but seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.” Luke 12:22, 31.
I cannot recall when or why started liking to watch movies portraying spiders but the contradictory aspect of this is that, I do not enjoy being in the company of any.
During a summer, I watered the grass almost every night extending the hose under a tree. I had done that for years but this particular evening, something stuck to my face, it was a spider web. Walking back with the intention of taking it down, I discovered, in the center of it, a beautiful one-inch reddish spider and pointed the hose nozzle slowly towards it to see if its builder would go away, but then, I observed an amazing thing. The spider crawled up and pulled the entire web up so I could walk under the tree without being bothered by it. “Smart creature” I thought and continued watering.
For the next several weeks, the routine of sprinkling a few drops into the spider web was repeated with the same results. Unfortunately, the hose nozzle broke and after installing a new one, forgot to adjust its pressure and instead of a few drops landing on the web, a huge mass of water went out tearing it apart and knocking down my “little friend” several feet away. I immediately stopped the water, got a lantern and went looking for it being careful of not stepping on it but, could not find it and did not water that evening with the hope the spider would find its way back to the tree and would see it again the next day, but, that never happened. Feeling so sad, I could not understand why cared this little insect and thought about our heavenly father caring each of us, little creatures inside a huge universe, every day of our lives.