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רָפָה raphah

As Christmas 2021 quickly approaches, I pray that you have had a minute to breath, to ponder, to be awestruck. A minute to stand in silence before the manger where the Son of God/Son of Man is celebrated.

We all know about the hype and the noise that our culture has added to the celebration of the birth of the Messiah. Had He wanted such superficial fanfare, He could have manufactured it. But instead He chose a humble, ordinary human birth. So humble was it, He wasn’t even afforded a nice bed and sterile surroundings. But He did have everything He needed. Parents who loved Him and protected Him. A few strangers bearing gifts, and a crowd of angels who couldn’t help but proclaim His arrival on earth.


As we celebrate this turning point in human history, maybe this year we take a moment to do it quietly, in the prayer closet, or over morning coffee with our journal in hand. As has happened every year for the last 10, I am moved out of my office to make room for my grandchildren to take up the bed with which I share the space. That means I’m moved from my usual devotional place. But this year I will take my most precious devotional tool in the moment with me. My Bible and my verse-writing journal. Before those beautiful kids even arrive, I am already planning my quiet time.


I’m already looking forward to a few moments of contemplation, meditation, and prayer spent over coffee at the kitchen table, long before anyone else even thinks about getting up for the day. And I can’t wait! As I plan for these days that are unlike all the others, surrounded by the noise of children and holiday activities, my heart is drawn to the words from Psalm 46.

10“Be still, and know that I am God.

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!”

11The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah


Now you can’t see this in it’s published form, but when I typed these verses onto the page, the grammar corrector wants to take out the comma that the translators rightly put into the text between the words “still and”. In the Hebrew, there stop after “Be still.” Look at what that word "still" means!


(raphah) רָפָהh -- relax, sink in, alone, become helpless, cease, collapse, let it go, subside, wait


Really – go back and read that list again! It’s magnificent as God assure us that He has the whole things completely in His hands. And then there is a complete juxtaposition following with the word “exalted”. In the economy of God, we are to relax in His presence and feast our eyes upon the Christ Child. The Lord is exalted in the stillness of our hearts as we worship the Newborn King.


So make this an intentional Christmas. Set aside some time for Him during all of the hub bub. Still your spirit in His presence. Relax, sink in, become helpless, cease, let it go, and wait. Every other activity you give yourself over too will be better because of that stillness spent with the Lord.


Merry Christmas!