12th Day of Christmas

by Matthew B. Harper

For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods. (Psalms 97:9)

How often do we really put God first? How often are we willing to do the difficult things that the Bible speaks of? How often are we willing to be loving, and not just always ‘right?’ How often are we willing to put forth our hand in love towards those that seem the most unlovable? What has our encounter with God done to us?

During Christmas we recall the humble shepherds who came to Christ’s infant bed; and I often wonder what happened to them afterwards. The gospels only record that the shepherds left the infant Jesus to go forth praising what they had seen. To truly encounter Christ changes us. Whether we accept or reject the offer of mercy and grace, our encounter with the risen Lord will have an impact on our lives, in each and every area.

In prison there is always someone watching. There are always people wanting to see if the changes are real, and if they are lasting. Because some people leave prison, and soon return bringing with them new crimes, new time, and new victims. But there are other men, ones for whom everything becomes different in a wonderful way. These men are able to go forth, in prison or out of it, into a transformed life. They are healed, and in their new life they can often become healers. This can only be by the power of God.

With God there is no addiction that cannot be overcome, and there is no idol that cannot be torn down. The God most high overcomes all. When we put God first in our lives then all things are made new, and the difficult is not so difficult. We are filled with God’s love and it spills over into loving others.

The snow lay on the ground, the stars shown bright, when Christ our Lord was born on Christmas night. Venite Adoremus Dominum. Venite Adoremus Dominum. (Hymn 110)

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