Christmas Prayer E-mail
"4 So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David...While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and Mary gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”...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.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:2-19
If you have been hustling the last few days to make final preparations for your Christmas celebration, or you are joining the millions of Americans who are traveling this Christmas, know that you are in very good company. The characters which gathered in the calm of the stable had a hectic, exhausting journey to get there. Mary and Joseph traveled far from home to reach the town of David. The Shepherds were in the midst of a midnight watch when the angels proclamation sent them running to the barn to see. Like our Decembers often end up (even thou we say every year we are slowing down); the journey to the manger was filled with hurry and expectation, worry and apprehension.
But, one character in the narrative breaks from the hustle of running to the manger and going out into the streets to spread the news. The gospel writer makes a point to tell us that Mary "treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."
This is our prayer for you this Christmas. That you will be still enough for a moment, or an hour, or God willing a day, to treasure the gifts you are being given this Christmas. We pray that today, Christmas Eve, you will be able to be fully present in worship and invite the glory and the love of God to be poured out upon you. We pray that the light of Christ will be kindled in your heart, not only as you sing Silent Night, but also as you take a few moments alone to ponder the gift of Jesus Christ in your life. Perhaps after the service, or early Christmas morning, you can light a candle and read Luke 2 and ponder what it means to you that God, in Jesus, is Immanuel, with us!
Even as the festivities continue around tables and trees may you not get lost in the details of wrappings or family dynamics. Rather may you treasure the people around you for who they are as God's beloved imperfect, redeemed, children. Marvel at the journey you have shared and give thanks for the God who has been present in and through all you have encountered. Open your eyes to see the gifts around you, open your heart to allow gratitude and wonder to flow in.
Our savior has come! Treasure the gift!
Pastor Scott & Pastor Jenny
CLICK HERE to read the sermon "Almost There" given at Mt Carmel on December 21