The Fourth Day of Christmas

Today is Monday, December 28, 2020, the fourth day of Christmas.

Peace be with you.

Day 22,936

Only four more days until 2021!

We had a lovely day, yesterday, continuing our restful long weekend. C took down all the Christmas decorations, so the house looks “normal” again. But, as you can see from the title of today’s blog, Christmas is not quite over, yet. Oh, sure, the retail season might be, although we continue to order and receive packages from Amazon. But the spirit and meaning of Christmas linger on, for at least eight more days.

Yesterday, I finished one of the games that I received for Christmas, The Dark Pictures Anthology: Little Hope. These games are a welcome relief from games like The Witcher III: The Wild Hunt, which take hours and hours and hours to finish. I was able to finish this one in only a couple of days. No doubt I did not get the best ending, because I lost three of the characters along the way. Yes, this is one of those “decision-based” games, where many different outcomes are possible. I might play this one again, to see if I can get a different outcome. My favorite of this type of game is still Until Dawn, the first one that I played. Next up is a game called Black Mirror, which does not seem to be related to the British Netflix show by the same name.

Today, we go back to work, but only for three days before we have another long weekend.


"Open, Lord, my eyes that I may see.
Open, Lord, my ears that I may hear.
Open, Lord, my heart and my mind that I may understand.
So shall I turn to You and be healed."

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year



Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
(Psalms 100:1-2 NIV)


A psalm. For giving grateful praise.
Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the LORD is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
(Psalms 100:1-5 NIV)


When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
(Luke 2:15-20 NIV)


As I linger over this passage, this morning, there are a couple of things that catch my attention, both dealing with response.

What is the response of the shepherds to this great event? Their response is immediate. As soon as the angels were gone, they “hurried off” to find this manger where Mary and Joseph and the baby were staying. After they laid eyes on the baby, they spread the word, telling everyone they saw about Him. And then they went back to work, “glorifying and praising God” for it.

What is the response of Mary? I really like this. “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” Can you even imagine what it must have been like for her, for her baby to be the center of all this attention and wonder? Sure, there was already a mystery surrounding Him; virgin birth, Son of God, and all that. But when the shepherds showed up out of nowhere, claiming to have been told about Him by a host of angels? That’s when, as they say, “things got real.”

I’m reminded of the song, “Mary, Did You Know?” I realize that there are a lot of people who are weary of this song, and the many, many covers of the original. But there is one line in the song that has always left me breathless.

"When you kiss your little baby,
You kiss the face of God."

One more song that this reminds me of. “Breath of Heaven,” a beautiful anthem from Amy Grant, who tweaked Chris Eaton’s original lyric so that it more aptly represented a pregnant woman’s perspective. But, I believe, the chorus remains intact.

"Breath of heaven
Hold me together
Be forever near me
Breath of heaven
Breath of heaven
Lighten my darkness
Pour over me your holiness
For you are holy
Breath of heaven"

That song, I will share here. It is most beautiful.

Father, as I ponder these things, today, may the “breath of heaven” indeed lighten my darkness. Not that I am experiencing much darkness, this morning. But may Your holiness fill me today, as I walk through whatever is coming my way. I have no idea what I will face at work today, or even between home and work. But this I know: whatever it is, You have been there before me and prepared the way. So let Your breath fall on me and sustain me, today. And may my reaction to Your wonderful grace and mercy be similar to both Mary and the shepherds. May I freely share this wonderful story, whenever opportunity presents itself, and may I treasure it and ponder it in my heart.

you are truly Immanuel,
God with us.
You share in this flesh and blood life,
entering my ordinary circumstances,
filling it with wonder,
and promise.
like the shepherds,
make me quick and ready to spread this good news to all."
(Belgic Confession, 18)


“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.”
(Luke 1:68 NIV)

If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
(1 John 4:20 ESV)

“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire. So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.”
(Matthew 5:21-24 ESV)

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.
(1 John 4:7 ESV)

Praise the LORD.
Praise the LORD from the heavens; praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies.
Let them praise the name of the LORD, for at his command they were created,
and he established them for ever and ever— he issued a decree that will never pass away.
(Psalms 148:1-6 NIV)

Father, all creation sings Your praises. So, Lord, “tune my heart to sing Thy grace,” today, as I walk through this world. No matter what my circumstances, I know that I am never walking alone. Not only do I have my loving family’s support, I know that, wherever I am, whatever I am doing or going through, You are there. You are beside me, above me, below me, in front of me, and behind me. And Your spirit dwells within me. I praise You for this, Father.

And, as I am reminded, once again, today, please help me to display Your love to all around me, as I go. May I follow Your commands to love You with all my being, and to love others as I love myself. And may I show an even deeper and more intense love to the Body of Christ.

I pray for peace in our nation, peace in our world. I pray for racial injustice to end, and I pray for the pandemic to be over. Above all else, though, I pray for Your will to be done, on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

I will give to the LORD the thanks due to his righteousness, and I will sing praise to the name of the LORD, the Most High.
(Psalms 7:17 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

  1. For the “breath of heaven” that fills my soul
  2. For the love that You lavish on us, thereby allowing us to turn around and share it with others
  3. For the story of the response of the shepherds
  4. That I still have a job to which to return today
  5. For the promise of Your enduring presence

You make known to me the path of life;
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalms 16:11 ESV)

Grace and peace, friends.