Sunday, December 09, 2012

December 10, 2012

Today's text

A voice cries, 'Prepare in the desert a way for the Lord. Make a straight highway for our God across the wastelands. Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill be leveled, every cliff become a plateau, every escarpment a plain; then the glory of the Lord will be revealed and all humanity will see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken’
(Isaiah 40:3-5).

The Word became flesh, he lived among us, and we saw his glory, the glory that he has from the Father as only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14).


Abby cried into my robe on Saturday. She pushed her wild head of blond hair into my side, and I wrapped her in my robe to chase away her shame.

I don’t know what she received, but she made my heart ready for Christmas morning.

It was her first time as acolyte, and she was wired (as usual), eager to do everything right. But things didn’t go right.

She lit the candles at the Lord’s table, but the wick in the lighter wouldn’t retract far enough to extinguish the flame. It grew longer and brighter, reaching perilously close to her eyes and wispy bangs.

Her front-pew father was quickly at her side and blew out the flame on the lighter. A teary Abby took her place by me on the bench at the front of the church, weeping. I wrapped her in the folds of my robe and held her, as she felt every eye in church on her.

This wasn’t how she planned it. This precious girl, so alive with a lightening quick mind and a heart of gold, wanted only to serve and smile. She wanted to feel the goodness of giving herself to God and the people of our congregation, sharing what is in her.

Instead, her embarrassment drew me to give what was in me. She awakened a love that wanted only to comfort a child in danger of forgetting how precious and beautiful she is.

Abby and I shared a moment of giving and receiving the love who holds us both.

It was still November, but Christmas had come. The love of God took flesh in both of us, and we felt its glory.

Readiness to love and receive the love of God wherever it appears is truest preparedness for Christmas. For we never quite know when Christ might come.

Sometimes he comes humble in a manger, and sometimes in little blond-haired girls.

Come, Lord Jesus, and let us receive that love which holds us and all things.

For prayer & reflection

  • What keeps you from receiving and giving love to others?
  • Is there someone you might reach out to this year with a special phone call or a letter, a lost friend, someone you have not told what they mean to you?
  • What practices help you prepare the way of the Lord, opening you to receive and share Christ and his love? Does listening to music help? Solitude and quiet? Meditating or praying for others? Serving in a food pantry and helping others?

Another voice

To us, to all in sorrow and fear, Emmanuel comes a singing. His humble song is quiet and near, yet fills the earth with its ringing. Love be our song, and love our prayer, and love our endless story. May God fill every day we share, and bring us at last into glory!
(“Awake, Awake and Greet the New Morn,” Marty Haugen, 1983)

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