Just one more week to go before we gather to celebrate the birth of Jesus — and that means that many of us have kicked it into high gear. I know at my house the desire for a rest yesterday gave way to the compulsion to get a little “pre-cooking” out of the way, and today was for wrapping and making sure I have something that will please my very special son and granddaughter. Even the pastor succumbs to the pressure of our culture — at least a little!
Sunday I asked you to resist that culture by spending a little time at the manger this week, focusing heart and mind on the one who is the true reason for the season. I did that today, when God woke me before 5 even when I intended to get a little extra sleep. I couldn’t settle back down, and eventually realized that what I needed more than anything was my Bible and my prayer time on my love seat, looking out at the dawn breaking over the mountain just out my front window. I’m so glad I didn’t skip this most important part of my day. I found myself praying simple prayers: prayers that God fill me with his Spirit so that I can see “what is” and know what to do about it, in my family, in my work, in my preaching, in my relationships with all of you. I didn’t know I needed to pray that prayer, but God did. Thank God, I was able to surrender to that need.
I don’t know what you need to pray about this week, but I am confident that God knows. And I know that the side of a manger, beside the symbol of God’s unimaginable willingness to stoop low to bless God’s children, is a great place to hear whatever it is that God has for you. That baby in the manger is the sign and symbol of God’s intention to be with you, with, me, with all of us. We sang about that Sunday. I invite you to sing it again, even if only in your mind, as you read scripture and worship and pray and wait for Christmas Day:
Emmanuel, Emmanuel, his name is called Emmanuel.
God with us, revealed in us.
His name is called Emmanuel.
It is a word for this dark and difficult time. May your Christmas be deeply blessed, in wonderful and surprising ways. I’ll see you all at the place of worship and prayer and Word and praise and joy Sunday and Monday.
In His Service