Thursday, December 20, 2012

December 20, 2012

Today's text

And all at once with the angel there was a great throng of the hosts of heaven, praising God with the words: Glory to God in highest heaven, and on earth peace among those he favors (Luke 2:13-14).


Christmas comes, inviting us to see ourselves and our world as God sees.

God looks with favor on the lowliness of his servant, Mary sings in the Magnificat. The angels proclaim peace to those God favors. This is not a message for a few but for all nations, every time and age … and you.

God looks with favor on the face of creation and on your face.

Imagine sitting in silence, looking into the gentle smile of someone who loves you more than you can understand, someone who loves you more than yourself.

Imagine their smile beaming complete love, utter welcome and total delight in having you near. Feel the grace that hungers to share your hopes and dreams, a love for which bearing with your burdens is not a burden for them, but a privilege and joy.

God looks at you with this smile, the smile of divine favor, refusing to turn from your failures and sins, your arrogance or presumption, nor even from the moments of your life you wish you could forget.

God sees it all, loving it all and all of you.

We can barely imagine such love, but we so desperately need it and long to believe in it. And it is doubly difficult for those wearied by disappointments and low esteem to believe that this is how the Loving Mystery of God sees them.

The smile of God’s good favor shines on the lowly ones and the lowly places in each of us. The Divine Majesty looks on creation, the world in all its beauty and brokenness, grace and glory, longing to make it whole.

The angels’ song proclaims the truth of God’s favor, which is a wonder we cannot know with our minds but only in the depth of our being where deepest feelings and convictions dwell.

God comes to share our human flesh in Jesus Christ. He comes with the smile of divine favor to heal and warm, to grace and welcome, to give us the peace of God.

For that, we truly pray: Come, Lord Jesus.

For prayer & reflection

  • What experiences or longings are awakened by today’s reading?
  • Try to imagine the face of Christ smiling at you, showering you with the smile of divine favor. What is moved and awakened in you?
  • What makes it hard for you to accept and know you are God’s favored one?
  • For what troubled part of our world do you hunger for the peace of God?

Another voice

In your love you now fulfill what you promised to your people. I will praise you Lord, my savior, everlasting is your mercy and holy is your name.
(“Holy Is Your Name,” David Haas, 1989)

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