Heartprints

In the Shadow of Christmas is a Cross

 

Christmas, for many, is colored with twinkling lights, the sound of singing, bright colored packages topped with elegant bows, cookies, candy, parties and laughter. But for others, Christmas is colored with the stark reality of roaring fires that ravage neighborhoods, hospital rooms, funeral homes, broken relationships, drunken relatives, and memories of those whose faces are missing from thier lives.

As we teach our children about Jesus, God’s greatest gift to the world, we must not forget to teach them that the manger was shadowed by a cross.

The Messiah in the manger was destined to be a man of sorrows acquainted with all our grief, bearing all our sin and shame.  The babe born in Bethlehem would grow up to be the Christ of the cross.  Let’s read again the Christmas Story according to Isaiah 53:1-6 “Who would have believed what we just heard? When was the Lord’s power revealed through him? He sprouted up like a twig before God, like a root out of parched soil; he had no stately form or majesty that might catch our attention, no special appearance that we should want to follow him.
 He was despised and rejected by people, one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness; people hid their faces from him; he was despised, and we considered him insignificant.  But he lifted up our illnesses, he carried our pain; even though we thought he was being punished, attacked by God, and afflicted for something he had done.
 He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds, crushed because of our sins; he endured punishment that made us well;because of his wounds we have been healed.
All of us had wandered off like sheep; each of us had strayed off on his own path,
but the Lord caused the sin of all of us to attack him.”NET Bible

2 Corinthians 5:21 “God made the one who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that in him we would become the righteousness of God.” NET Bible

I love Christmas Carols, the old ones especially bring me much joy. This year, I am thanking God for His grace that let me hear a new song. It has opened my heart to the many opportunities we have during this special season. It is a song to hurting hearts. The words are filled with hope, comfort, and encouragement for those whose Christmas is shadowed by sad memories, those who seek to survive broken relationships. It is a soothing balm offering peace to those whose hearts are breaking over past sin, or present pain. I long for you to read the words and hear the song. May it meet the needs of your hurting heart. May God use it to motivate us to pray; to allow the heart of the man of sorrows to pray through our lips this Christmas for those He came to save.

Somewhere in Your Silent Night

By Casting Crowns

All is calm and all is bright
Everywhere but in your heart tonight
They're singing carols of joy and peace
But you feel too far gone and too far out of reach

Somewhere in your silent night
Heaven hears the song your broken heart has cried
Hope is here, just lift your head
For love has come to find you
Somewhere in your silent night

From heaven's height to manger low
There is no distance the Prince of Peace won't go
From manger low to Calvary's hill
When your pain runs deep
His love runs deeper still
He has always loved you, child
And He always will

Somewhere in your silent night
Heaven hears the song your broken heart has cried
Hope is here, just lift your head
For love has come to find you
Somewhere in your silent night

Lift your head
Lift your heart
Emmanuel will meet you where you are
He knows your hurt
He knows your name
And you're the very reason that He came

Somewhere in your silent night
Heaven hears the song your broken heart has cried
Hope is here, just lift your head
For love has come to find you
Somewhere in your silent night

Love will find you

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nT-5cP4BeoI&list=PLkgRFq0NKWEsE4ohJKtnuwt5KQ9_jGBmK

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Suzi Ciliberti

Suzi Ciliberti works for Christar, a Missions Agency that plants churches among least-reached Asians worldwide. She served in Japan for two years as a single missionary and another nine with her husband and two children, then the family returned to the states. She and her husband have been serving in the US Mobilization Center since 2000. As a part of the Member Care Department, Suzi is consultant to families with children. She has been working as a children’s teacher since she was 17 and began her training under Child Evangelism Fellowship. She has taught in the church, as a school teacher for two years in a Christian elementary school, and as a speaker for adults training to work with children. She has also trained children, who are a part of families that work overseas, in their identity in Christ. She brings 44 years of teaching experience to her work. She loves creative writing as well as teaching and has found great fulfillment in combining the two as she blogs for Heartprints. She finds it a great privilege and joy to serve the Lord and His people. One of her favorite verses is Deuteronomy 4:10b, "Gather the people to Me, and I will let them hear My words, that they may learn to fear Me all the days they live on the earth, and that they may teach their children."