"Once we clearly acknowledge the soul, we can learn to hear it's cries. - Dallas Willard, Renovation Of The Heart."

It takes courage to pursue our dreams. It takes time and patience to unearth buried treasure. But I believe with all my heart that we must do both.

12.24.2011

Christmas Eve


Isaiah 62:1-5; Psalm 88; Acts 13:16-17, 22-25


"If we have neglected the spiritual call of Advent for yet another year, and have allowed ourselves to become thoroughly frazzled by December 24, all is not lost. We are, in face, in very good shape for Christmas.


It is precisely because we are weary, and poor in spirit, that God can touch us with hope. This is not an easy truth. It means that we accept our common lot, and take up our share of the cross. It means that we do not gloss over the evils we confront every day, both within ourselves and without. Our sacrifices may be great. But as the martyred archbishop of El Salvador, Oscar Romero, once said, it is only the poor and hungry, those who know they need someone to come on their behalf, who can celebrate Christmas.


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."


The genealogy of Jesus reveals that God chooses to work with us as we are, using our weaknesses, even more than our strengths, to fulfill the divine purpose. At tonight's vigil, in a world as cold and cruel and unjust as it was at the time of Jesus' birth in a stable, we desire something better. And in desiring it, we come to believe that it is possible. We await its coming in hope."  


We await HIS coming...again.


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, our Savior, Jesus Christ.
(God With Us)


Please do not leave this most precious of gifts unwrapped this Christmas.  


Thank you for you friendship, support and encouragement. May you all have a joy-filled, love-filled, grace-filled day celebrating the One that makes Christmas, Christmas. 


Grace and peace

7 comments:

katie purcell said...

You, Mary Freeman, are a gift from God to me and so many. Thank you for sharing His Love!

caryjo said...

Light, even a tiny spark of it, can overwhelm the darkness; that's what I count on. On Christmas Eve leading to Christmas day and Good Friday leading to Resurrection Sunday. Whether a Baby or an Adult... He is the Light.

Erin Butson said...

Hi Mary,
This is what I needed today. as always. xoxoxo e

Life in a Snapshot by Lydia said...

HI MARY,

I have enjoyed this tremendously thanks for sharing this Advent!
Sherry

Hands to Work, Hearts to God said...

Hi Mary, yes we must eagerly and gratefully accept ALL the wonderful gifts Jesus came to give us! A blessed Christmas to you and your family! Patsy from
HeARTworks

Bevie said...

We are celebrating what God did for all of us who believe that Jesus was born to die for our sins, and through Him we can go to God for forgiven at any time! love you sis, and send blessings to you and Greg, and your beautiful family!!!
Bevie

Sarah (Nikki) said...

your words ring so true. The world is in a dark place. Every day leading up to Christmas another murder, rape, assualt or car crash. It's hard to watch...hard to hear Yet.....there is a Light that shines in the dark....thanks Mary.....Hope you had a good Christmas