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Devotion 18

Be Near Me, Lord Jesus

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,

The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head;

The stars in the sky looked down where He lay,

The little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.

…I love Thee, Lord Jesus! Look down from the sky,

And stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay

Close by me forever, and love me I pray….

Words and music by Martin Luther

This has always been one of my two favorite carols. The imagery is so vivid; the emotion it provokes so comforting; the appeal so true to my heart, though I am no longer child.

How often my heart cries, "Be near me, Lord Jesus and love me I pray." And yet I cannot question either his nearness or his love. He has promised to be near me: "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee," Paul told us of Christ in Hebrews 13:5. "Loved with everlasting love," the hymn printed below proclaims.

His love didn't begin in the manger. His love for me didn't begin the day I accepted Him as my Savior. His love is eternal, from everlasting to everlasting, from the beginning until the end.

There is nothing I can do that changes it. "For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come. Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord," Paul wrote in Romans 8:38-39. I don't care how I might feel I am loved by God. He is never the problem. And the fact I am my own stumbling block doesn't change His nearness or His love.

I am the one who makes the difference because this relationship is a two-way street. "Draw nigh (near) to God, and he will draw nigh (near) to you," James 4:8 advises me. He is always as close as I will let Him be. He will not force his love, His will, or His way on me. But He is heart cry away.

You'd think I'd get the picture once and for all, but there I am in all my humanness, disgusted with myself and forgetting His everlasting love, regardless of my best or worst efforts.

As I celebrate this Christmas I want to remember His unwavering love, and I want to move near to Him so I will enjoy the best He has for me.

For Further Consideration

James 4:1-10

Acts 23:1-22, verse 11

Romans 8:28-39

I Am His, and He Is Mine

Loved with everlasting love, Led by grace that love to know:

Spirit, breathing from above, Thou has taught me it is so!Oh, this full and perfect peace! Oh this transport all divine!In a love, which cannot cease, I am His and He is mine!Heaven above is softer blue, Earth around is sweeter green!

Something lives in every hue Christless eyes have never seen; Birds with gladder songs o'erflow, Flowers with deeper beauties shine,Since as I know, as now I know, I am His and He is mine.

Things that once were wild alarms Cannot now disturb my rest Close in everlasting arms, Pillowed on the loving breast. Oh, to lie forever here, Doubt, and care, and self resign, While He whispers in my ear, I am His and He is mine.

His forever, only His; Who the Lord and me shall part? Ah, with what a rest of bliss Christ can fill the loving heart!

Heav'n and earth may fade and flee, Firstborn light in gloom declines; But while God and I shall be, I am His, and He is mine.

Words by George Wade Robinson (1838-1877)

Music by James Mountain (1843-1933)


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