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. I've been reminiscing a lot this Christmas season. Amidst the shopping and baking and cleaning and preparing for our boys to come home, I've had a sudden urge to reread one of my favorite novels of all time - Two From Galilee - The Story of Mary and Joseph by Marjorie Holmes. It is probably the best retelling of the Christmas story that I have ever read, and the novelization stands the test of time. I am captivated by the author's storytelling and admiring her craft in the process.

I toyed with the idea of trying to write my own short story or even just a scene set in Bethlehem telling the story of Jesus' birth, but this year, my creativity level is struggling. I need an infusion of good stories to fill the well that has run a bit dry from stress and grief. The truth is, and I don't mean to sound overly morbid, but I miss my dad. I suppose a lot has to do with memories of the holiday. Loss makes this season more difficult. Part of it is I just haven't taken time to grieve and it's catching up to me.

I also wonder more about what heaven is like and what he is experiencing this Christmas with Jesus. Do they celebrate birthdays in heaven? Do they look down on earth in that "great cloud of witnesses" and wonder at all the hoopla and frenzy that goes on down here, trying to buy "peace on earth?"

I watch the news and see all of the upheaval and anger in nations around the world, (and the pushing and shoving in shopping malls on a smaller scale) and I think of that babe in the manger of whom it was said:

"Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this."

Someday the Prince of Peace will come and it won't be to a virgin girl in Bethlehem or to a hillside of shepherds. He won't come in the form of helpless babe, but as reigning king. His government will usher in true and lasting peace. His throne and kingdom will have no end.

These aren't just words to comfort the downtrodden. They are truth, whether we believe them or not. Truth unseen does not make it any less true. The only difference between the historical Jesus and his future return and the reigning Jesus is time. Isaiah foretold both. Time will prove both true.

Someday Christmas won't need well wishers singing "peace on earth, good will to men." Everyday will be one of peace on earth to men on whom God's favor rests. In a kingdom without the anger and outrage we see now. In a kingdom without grief and loss and separation from those we love.

We can have a taste of that peace now, not in kingdoms of earth forever on the brink of war, but in the kingdom of the heart. This is why Jesus came the first time. To bring peace with God, the forgiveness of our sins. Peace on the inside, where our spirit lives. It is a peace that come from knowing Him. It's the kind of peace the angels proclaimed to the shepherds that long ago night in Bethlehem.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.

For unto us a child is born...and of His peace there will be no end.

As the day approaches, may you know His peace. May you know Him.

I will be taking a break from this blog for the next few weeks while my family spends time together. In the coming year we will be unveiling a new website design. Until then...God's blessings to you and yours~

Merry Christmas!

PersonalJill Eileen Smith