Christmas night, Mike and I finished up some last minute Santa preparations since Santa agreed to visit us a day late because we were traveling. That Santa is a good man!
Afterwards, I sat down to reflect with a cup of hot tea in my favorite recliner. I always like to take some to myself on Christmas and just mediate on what the birth of Jesus did for a wretched soul like me. Christmas night was the first chance I had to do that. I didn’t turn to Luke like I normally do to recount the events of His glorious birth. I turned to Isaiah 9.
I came to verse 4, “For as in the day of Midian’s defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of the oppressors.” I begin meditating on that….Burdens. The bar across their shoulders. I thought about my own burdens. The things I was carrying that were weighing me down. The anxiety. Some minor health issues.
Its so true that burdens are like a bar across our shoulders. They are extra baggage that we carry around. Right then I pictured myself walking with Bars of weights on my shoulders typical to the ones you use in the gym for shoulder presses and chest exercises. I saw each one of my burdens as a bar-the anxiety, the health issue, the lack of faith. With each burden my load got heavier so therefore I slumped. I walked much slower. Running? Yea, that wasn’t happening!
Then I read verse 6 and immediately began thanking Jesus! “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Did you catch that too? The government will be on His shoulders! Wow! I shudder at the freedom we have because of the birth of a baby-God’s only son. I shudder to think we don’t have to carry our burdens. We were given the gift of someone who will do that for us-Jesus!
Its such an elementry principle but I don’t know about you, I need reminding of this so many times. That He carries our burdens. We just have to give them to him and trust that he is in control.
I can literally count on 1 hand that times in my life that I had what I call tangible God encounters one of them was a dream I had at age 7 when my mom was sick. Jesus came to me in my dream and said, “I will take care of you.” I will never forget that. Of course, in my 7-year-old mind that meant Jesus would heal my mom, and I told her that he told me that. So after her death until just Christmas of last year, I carried the burden of that around. That is another post entirely.
But another one of my tangible God encounters was at 18. I went down to the alter one night after Wednesday night service just to pray. It was for nothing imparticular but I just felt led to go there. As I was praying, a Pastor came up and started praying for me. Towards the end of his prayer he said the words, “God is taking away the spirit of grief that is upon you.” Immediately, I felt like a load of bricks were being lifted from my shoulders. It felt like it was physically happening. It was the wildest encounter I have ever had from the Lord. I will never forget it.
I was carrying around a burden I didn’t even know existed. Yes, I knew I had experienced much grief in my early years but I didn’t realize it was still such a burden I was carrying. Yet, God was faithful. He revealed to me a burden holding me back from fullness in Him!
Christmas Day, as I pondered that God encounter and the scripture and the new revelation of Isaiah 9 He had given me, I was overwhelmed that that simple birth in the manager made it possible for me to have someone else to carry my burdens. To not be weighed down by the things of this world but to be transformed by Him. Its such a simple principle but it is so hard for us to do. And it is available for all of us!
Have you given Him your burdens so you can live the full life he intends for you to or are you bogged by weights that make each step you take slower, make you slump a little lower, and inhibit your ability to run? I know I’m still handing them over. Daily. It is a choice not worry and just trust.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace!!!
We celebrated the birth of the greatest gift we’ve all been given and the one who carries all our burdens at Mike’s parents house this year. I didn’t take many pictures. I left my good camera at home.
While we were there, We celebrated Luke’s 4th birthday.
And celebrated Christmas.
We headed home Christmas afternoon. Our car packed full! And the babies wiped out from all the fun they had!
Luke and Elle left Santa a thank you note with cookies and juice. Luke insisted I not leave cow milk because it was his favorite I hardly buy it anymore. (We’ve pretty much switched to organic soy and almond milk the majority of the time.) Yes, we are still working on selfishness too.
Santa left Elle kitchen accessories, and Luke got a goal/pitchback. Luke was pretty upset about the mess Santa made. He even went and got the broom before he would start opening his other gifts.
That afternoon Mike and I watched our favorite Christmas movie, Elf, and played scrabbled. I’m thinking this is becoming a yearly tradition.
Then we all got dressed up and had Christmas dinner-Shrimp Cocktail, Prime Rib, Cheese grits, Asparagus, Rolls, and Ambrosia and Chocolate Cake. Yummy!
It really was a relaxing celebration as a family!
The the day after we had a 5-day visit with the Burgbachers and their superheros.
Here are my favorite pictures from their visit: