Between getting ready in the morning for the day and getting ready at night for sleep, we live our lives. Much of that time is spent preparing for the hours to come.

But even as we wait for what is going to happen, it is important to stop. To stop and simply be still.

Sometimes being still is the best preparation of all.

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Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, saying, Ask a sign of the Lord your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven. But Ahaz said, I will not ask, and I will not put the Lord to the test.

Isaiah 7:10-12

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Exams are over! No more tests, book reports, or papers to prepare over the holiday! The preparations have been made so that we can enjoy family and friends.

So when Isaiah speaks of tests, I want to ignore him. Isaiah is recording a conversation between King Ahaz and God. God says that Ahaz may ask for a sign that God will bring victory in battle. Ahaz refuses to put God to any test that attempts to prove God’s good presence among God’s people. It is what we are preparing for and celebrating, i.e., that God is Immanuel, “God with us,” and not just in these days of celebration and preparation, but throughout our lives.

In Jesus, we have all the assurance we need to face any test, choice, or trial. In a lowly stall in Bethlehem, we welcome God incarnate.

Sarah Shelton

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Come Lord Jesus. Be with me in times of testing and trial. Amen.

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Go now into the midst of busyness and hurry.
But carry with you these moments of still and quiet.

You are better prepared now than you were even moments ago
For the day that lies ahead.

And God has prepared good gifts in the midst of the hours
For you to know and cherish.

Sarah Shelton

Sarah Jackson Shelton is the pastor of Baptist Church of the Covenant in Birmingham, Alabama. She is the proud mother of David (24) and Dannelly (19), and the lucky wife of Lloyd.

Glorious Messiah

Jim Morgan

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