Prayer Devotion December 18, 2013

"Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.  And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character hope.  And hope does not disappoint us, because god has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."  Romans 5:1-5

              Have you ever been disappointed by Christmas?  When I was a girl I desperately wanted a cabbage patch doll.  My mother thought they were very creepy so she got me a beautiful soft baby doll instead.  On Christmas morning I was devastated.  My hopes were crushed because that doll was not a cabbage patch.  As grown ups we can struggle with disappointment at Christmas time as well.  We are disappointed when snow cancels our plans, when family gatherings become tense, when our loved ones fail to be grateful.  Our modern world puts a lot of pressure on Christmas.  We are expecting a beautifully decorated home, with well behaved children (and adults, which is harder to pull off), perfect gifts, and lots of "oh thank you's".  The expectations of Christmas can cause stress and, if unfulfilled, disappointment.  

               As the big day approaches we offer you a bit of pastoral care.  The only thing that really matters this Christmas is Jesus and he never disappoints!  He is always more than we can hope for or imagine.  On the first Christmas he came, as God in human flesh.  Through a tiny baby's hand God reached out to touch us, and bless us, and change us forever.  The prophets foretold that the coming Messiah would wear Righteousness around his waist.  This means he would be centered, defined, and protected by God's powerful love and justice.  You have one week until Christmas Day.  Each of these days is an opportunity to release yourself from any Christmas expectations which do not bring you joy and recenter on the love of Christ.  This Christmas be strengthened and defined not by gifts and meat balls but by grace, love, and peace.  Give God time, through prayer and reflection, to bless you and center you.  While life may be full of struggle, grief, and disappointment, the HOPE which Jesus brings will not disappoint us. 
Prayers for Christmas week: 
Prayer for our neighbors, friends, and family who do not yet know the Love of Christ.  May God offer them a sign which leads them home this Christmas.  
Prayers for families which are in the midst of stressful times
Prayers for those who are sick or recovering
Prayers for those who are shut in and hospitalized
Prayers for those who are traveling 
Prayers that God's peace and love will define our Christmas celebrations
God grace and peace be yours this Christmas,  
Pastor Jenny & Pastor Scott  

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