From my family to you, Merry Christmas!
The word of the Lord for us today:
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men and women on whom his favor rests.” (Lk 2:8-14)
With good news for all people, our God comes to us.
In brilliant glory, our God comes to us.
Declaring we have nothing to fear, our God comes to us.
For the insiders and the outsiders.
The poor and the privileged.
The kings and, yes, even the shepherds.
Our God comes with great joy.
Think of it friends, with great joy!
Feel your heart lift, delight dancing within, full of possibility.
Our God comes with saving power.
A Savior is born to you this day: He is the Lord.
The Savior who provides a way out of whatever binds, burdens, or breaks us.
Our God comes in peace. Peace is the shalom of God, which ushers in wholeness, a deep sense of well being. This is not just an existence devoid of chaos, anxiety, and violence, but a space where everything is brought to the relationship that was intended. The eschatological hope spoken of in the Old Testament that our souls truly desire.
Behold, our God comes!
There’s a great story shared by Pastor David Peterson. He was in his study preparing a sermon when his daughter comes in, asking him to play. This is so familiar to me, as I hear this invitation from my little girl who begins each day with, “Mommy, do you want to play with me?”
He turns to her and says, “I’m awfully sorry, sweetheart, but I’m right in the middle of preparing this sermon. In about an hour I can play.”
“OK,” she said. “When you’re finished, I will give you a great big hug.”
She moves towards the door and then abruptly turns around and runs back, giving him a huge hug. Laughing, he says, “I thought I got the hug when I was done?”
“I just wanted you to know what you have to look forward to!” his little girl said.
I think God feels the same. There is a time coming that we really can look forward to: the coming of Jesus. But God wants us to experience the embrace of God now.
The good news for all starts today.
The tremendous inclusion starts today.
The deep peace of God starts today.
The power of God starts today.
The glory of God starts today.
The joy of God starts today.
So we know what we have to look forward to.
Today we remember our God who came, and who is coming again.
Dear friends, I offer this blessing.
Beloved child of God, on this Christmas Day,
May the Lord of peace give you peace always in every way.
May the Lord be with you, holding you in Their embrace, especially today.
May you be refreshed by celebration.
For some who carry a heavy burden of grief,
may God hold you in wholeness and in love, even in this.
May you experience the joy of the Lord, while anticipating with hope all that is to come.
“Now may the Lord of peace Himself give you peace always in every way. The Lord be with you all.” (2 Thessalonians 3:16)