I want to thank all of you for your well wishes and prayers for my daughter. I so appreciate them, and you.
I can hardly believe it is Christmas Eve. I have tried to slow down this year. Preparations have been less frantic this year than in years past, but I still have changes to make. It does not happen all at once, at least for me. But, as God continually changes my heart my actions change. I hope these Advent readings have helped you slow down a bit, and draw near to the one we celebrate.
"Tonight we are asked to acknowledge that the world we have made is in darkness. We are asked to be attentive, and keep vigil for the light of Christ. The readings are not particularly comforting. Psalm 88, a lament which is also commonly read on Good Friday, is stark in its appraisal: "For my soul is full of troubles, and my life draws near to Sheol," the underworld of the dead. The passage from Acts asks us to consider that, just as Israel needed God to lead them out of Egypt, so we need Christ to lead us out of our present slavery to sin. We, and our world, are broken. Even our homes have become places of physical and psychological violence. It is only God, through Jesus Christ, who can make us whole again.
The prophecy of Isaiah allows us to imagine a time when God's promise will be fulfilled, and we will no longer be desolate, or forsaken, but found, and beloved of God. We find a note of hope also in the Gospel Of Matthew. In the long list of Jesus' forbears, we find the whole range of humanity: not only God's faithful, but adulterers, murderers, rebels, conspirators, transgressors of all sorts, both the fearful and the bold. And yet God's purpose is not thwarted. In Jesus Christ, God turns even human dysfunction to the good." (Kathleen Norris - God with us)
Advent readings for Christmas Eve : Isaiah 62:1-5; Psalm 88; Acts 13:16-17, 22-25;
O God, who spoke all creation into being:
When you created human flesh, we betrayed you by our disobedience.
When you led us out of slavery in Egypt, we doubted and defied you.
Yet you chose to come among us through your Son, Jesus Christ, who suffered death on our behalf, putting an end to the power of sin and death.
For this great gift of your steadfast love, we give you thanks.
Help us, O Lord, to keep vigil this night.
Help us to watch for the signs of your coming into our midst, not in the splendid palaces of power, but in hearts humbled by need.
Help us to believe that the darkness of cruelty and sin will never overcome the light, and the mercy, of Christ.
Help us to endure, knowing that the evil and injustice of this world cannot prevail against your Word.
We ask this in the name of your Word made flesh, or Savior, Jesus Christ.
Amen. (Kathleen Norris - God with us)
May you all have a blessed, joy-filled Christmas!