Dying is scary, whether one’s own death or the pain of losing a loved one. Death in our Christian perspective is less of a finality and more of an intermission. The pain of death is not lessened, but viewing death as part of our journey with Christ to life eternal does give us a new perspective. Knowing God is with us and that we are retiring to our God in spirit helps us to overcome some of our fear.
In our fast-paced world, sometimes it is easier to just keep doing what we have always done. That is exactly what the Israelites wanted to do when the promised land was right in front of them. As they turned their focus to God, they were able to face the change and newness with hope and excitement. How can we hear that same message in the midst of changes of our world today?
God did not create us to be alone and isolated, but to rely on each other. God is always with us, and we can always be there for others to remind them of God’s love and presence. The certainty of God’s love allows us to connect to our deepest selves, the people God created us to be. No matter what, we are not alone!
So many things divide our world today: politics, race, socio-economic realities. We focus on our differences instead of God’s law of unconditional love. Scripture tells us to seek God’s divine image in everyone we meet. Even those who disagree with us and are different from us are our neighbors, our brothers and sisters in Christ our Lord. How can we live into that truth?
It is easy to get caught up in the notion that the sky is falling. We deal with real fears and anxieties, but part of being faithful means striving to stay realistic about what we can control and what we need to turn over to God. How can we acknowledge our struggles while living with less worry?
We often focus on the gifts of the wise men. However, the most amazing part of this story is the journey they made and what they gave of themselves in order to worship Jesus. Giving of ourselves to the world is by far the best and most important way we can share Christ’s love and reflect the real meaning of the Christmas story. God was willing to give of God’s self in Jesus so that we might know God’s unconditional love. How might we offer our lives so that others can experience God’s love through us?
One of the greatest gifts in the Christmas story is the gift of joy that the Christ child brings to all people. Joy is not the same as being happy. Joy is deeper and is about who we are as God’s beloved children, not about what is going on in our lives. Christmas is a reminder that no matter what, God loves each of us. How can we share the truth of that joy with others this season?
In a world filled with hurt and difficulty, sometimes excitement is hard to find. Christmas is the story of God overcoming every obstacle and problem to share love with us. How might we find deep excitement in that truth and begin to gift that excitement to the world?
In this season of preparation, are you just decorating your home and wrapping presents, or are you also helping the world be ready to experience God’s unconditional love through Jesus Christ? How might we better prepare ourselves and others for this amazing gift?
Perhaps the most enchanting and haunting feature of Benjamin Britten's A Ceremony of Carols is its simplicity. What could be more sublimely austere than medieval carols in Middle English, accompanied by the plucked strains of a lone harp? The picture and the sound evoke the hopeful, watchful sense of the days leading up to Christmas. Join us for worship filled with beautiful music and anticipation of the gift of Emmanuel, God with us!