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With His Stripes

Today is the last Five Minute Friday for this year.  Not only has this link-up been a wonderful challenge throughout the year – challenging my thoughts and my writing – but the other posts have been encouraging, convicting and helpful as well.  For those new to FMF, each week there is a one-word prompt and then we try to free-write for five minutes.  As in, not a lot of over-thinking, preparation and not (too much) editing.  Yes, it has been a challenge…especially for the over-thinking and perfectionist side of me.
Most often, I go with my first thought after reading the prompt.  But, not this week.  I had wanted a light-hearted, even fun, Christmas post but these (more serious) thoughts from today’s prompt – WITH – as well as these verses were on my heart.
  “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:  and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised and we esteemed him not.
   Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:  yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
   But he was wonded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:  the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”  Isaiah 53:3-5
With his stripes we are healed.  That is Christmas.  We all have heard, seen or even read blog posts with the reminders to keep Christ in Christmas.  To remember the real reason for the season.  And I am sure, as Christians, we sincerely want to do that.  But, just as quickly, the busyness, the pressure and, yes, the stress that can be Christmas sneaks back in.  Even the extra fun and “merry” of the season – or just all the coziness – can lull us or distract us and we have, too easily, forgotten that Jesus came to the manger in order to go the cross.
We need the reminders.  Often.  We need to refocus.  Turn our thoughts, our hearts, our priorities and our plans back to the manager – which leads to the cross.  Start our days in God’s word and then take it with us throughout the day.  Ask Him to show us distractions or misplaced priorities in order to be purposeful this holiday.  Serve others – it is one of the best ways to take the focus off of us, our agenda and our expectations.  Enjoy Christmas songs but play meaningful music, too.  I think this song, by Ron Hamilton, is so beautiful and expresses, much better than I, the true meaning of Christmas.  (These are just the first two verses.)  If you haven’t heard it, look for it and enjoy.
Merry Christmas!!

Born To Die

On the night Christ was born
Just before the break of morn,
As the stars in the sky were fading,
O’er the place where He lay
Fell a shadow cold and gray
Of a cross that would humble a King.
Born to die upon Calv’ry,
Jesus suffered my sin to forgive;
Born to die upon Calv’ry
He was wounded that I might live.
Jesus knew when He came
He would suffer in shame,
He could feel ev’ry pain and sorrow.
Be He left Paradise,
With His blood He paid the price –
My redemption to Jesus I owe.
Born to die upon Calv’ry,
Jesus suffered my sin to forgive;
Born to die upon Calv’ry
He was wounded that I might live.

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