Day 15 – Go!  
In November 2010, I completed the New York City marathon with my daughter, Anna.  Since we knew that our lack of speed would put us back in the pack, we wanted to do everything possible to be encouraged for those many miles.  Thus, I wrote on the front of my running shirt “Go, Al!”  Anna wrote her name on the front of her shirt.  As we passed the thousands in the crowds we would hear people encourage us by calling out our names, “Go Al!, Go Anna! ”  If I felt especially in need of a “boost” and hadn’t heard our names for a while,  I’d catch the eye of someone in the crowd and then point to  “Go, Al!” on my shirt.  They would yell out those two encouraging words.  I’d give them a thumbs up, and then point to Anna’s name on her shirt. They’d say “Go, Anna!” and we’d be energized for another few thousand steps.  
Encouragement is a big deal.  Imagine how much encouragement Mary and Joseph must have felt when those shepherds arrived at the manger.  Those men of the fields were unexpected.  They arrived with wonder and excitement.  It makes sense that they would have told the young couple about the angelic message they had just experienced.   I can see Joseph turning to Mary as the shepherds departed: “wow, that felt great!” Luke records Mary’s response to the shepherds’ visit
“Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.”  Luke 2: 19.   It is normal for God’s people to encourage one another.  They forgive.  They accept.  They love.  This encouragement is deeply connected to the encouragement we have from God.  He sent His one and only Son to rescue you and me!  
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.”
1 Thessalonians 5:11

  What is God saying to you about being encouraged by and encouraging others?