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DAILY DEVOTIONS
 

  In more than three decades of my Christian life, I have been blest by 2 types of Daily devos' (matter not exceeding 500 words) in universal Christian literature. Not only those Devos' which have a different theme everyday but also the ones which revolve around a certain theme over a period of time, say a fortnight, have richly edified me. In fact, both styles have their own inherent advantages. If the former style caters to the varying spiritual needs of a christian from day-to-day, the latter aims 'to ground' a child of God in a certain subject in order he derives the full benefits of the deep insightful study of a certain topic, spread over a fixed span of time.

In my Daily devo page, I have consciously tried to go in for 'a blend of both the styles' whereby within a constant theme, I would be aiming to focus on different facets of it which admittedly is a closer imitation of the 'Constant theme' style than the 'Varying topics' one.

As the month of December coincides with the Christmas season, in this month I intend to dwell exclusively on all the topics revolving around Christmas using the visit of the Wise man described in Matthew 2 as the base.

Let me wish you a happy and an edifying read… oh yes-MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OF US!

Suresh Manoharan




December 5th

Bearing the Cross…



So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt –Matt 2:14

Then he said to them all: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me – Luke 9:23
 
  Even while we praise God for His grand redemption plan for mankind, have we ever focused on the trials and tribulations of Jesus’ parents, as this grand plan was taking shape? The list of their difficulties sure appears long…the public ridicule in their native village on a virgin conceiving, was followed by their need to travel a long distance on the back of a mule from Galilee to Bethlehem for census registration with Mary in advanced stage of pregnancy (hardly a time for undertaking a long travel!) and what awaited them in Bethlehem was no superspeciality maternity hospital for Mary to give birth but only an apple tree? (Song of Solomon 8:5) to provide shade, when the Christ child was born (tomorrow, I would dwell on this subject of ‘apple tree’, which would raise a few eyebrows). Later with no place to place the child, they sought shelter in a manger.

After all this, they started their lives all over again in Bethlehem in an absolutely new setting and then, even as they were settling down in a new place, out of the blue, came the threat to the Christ-child from King Herod which necessitated their flight to Egypt two years later; …now this list can go on.

One needn’t be a psychologist to emphasise the fact that of all the challenges’, the one of starting life from a scratch is the most daunting one entailing tremendous mental resolve. First, the parents of Jesus’ settled in Bethlehem to bring-up their precious son insulating him, as it were, from the vitriolic Nazareth. However, the silver lining of settling in Bethlehem at least was that they were among the fellow Jews but the need to do it all over again in Egypt in alien settings, amidst so many different customs? Boy! Now that was another steep mountain to climb, emotionally! It entailed they coming ‘out of their comfort zone’, again. That brings us to the point, if Jesus declared that his followers’ are required to carry the cross- Luke 9:23 - daily (i.e.…please God day in and day out come what may, giving up in the process even, one’s legitimate rights/pleasures), then what about the earthly parents of our Lord? Weren’t they bearing the cross for him, even before he made such a ‘call of commitment’? The amazing truth is…YES, all without murmuring or complaining by simply keeping eternity in perspective!

Prayer:

Father, we can find no words to adequately appreciate the commitment of your saints of yore. Put in us that resolve and perseverance to follow thee like they did, in order our lives too would be inspirational to those around us and posterity. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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