Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A Stirring in the Stable

Lord Christ,
I hear your call from the stable,
From a baby in the manger straw.

It's a tender summons,
With an angels' chorus,
Beneath the brightest of stars.

Open my ears to your teaching:

To love the unlovable,
To defend the defenseless. 
To forgive the unforgivable.

To share your Spirit,
Living selflessly,
Loving unconditionally. 

To believe when doubt overwhelms,
Hoping when things seem hopeless.

Change my heart, Jesus!
Your Kingdom comes this Christmas!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Euphoria! Electricity! Exhilaration!

God of all Grace,

I love Christmas, but I’m wondering if this line from my Advent devotion is a bit over the top?

The euphoria of Christ’s birth overwhelms all human infatuations and electrifies us with heavenly exhilaration that can’t be shackled! (Dr. Marva Dawn)

No, not at all! Yes, I want to feel the euphoria, the electricity and the exhilaration of Christmas.

...you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. 
(Matthew 1:21)

...they will call him Immanuel which means, “God with us.”
(Matthew 1:23)

Saved from our sins. In your presence. That is overwhelming!

I’ll admit, as this Christmas day winds down, the jubilation is waning, but I certainly felt it in church last night. And today, I was overwhelmed with the love and generosity of my family.

Holy Spirit, help me to sustain the euphoria, electricity and exhilaration of Christ’s birth into the new year.

O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!
(O little town of Bethlehem)

Friday, December 23, 2016

Advent Voices

Isaiah, the Psalms, John the Baptist, the Gospel stories of Jesus' birth...   Voices of Advent. Competing for my attention. Vying for my heart.

I have tried to note, ponder and pray the various themes of Advent's Lectionary readings over the past four weeks. Now, I assimilate that in a prayer. 

I am compelled to push aside the discouragement of current events and embrace the theological - that the Messianic era has begun, that we are in the midst of a restoration, that "God's glory fills the earth!"

Holy Spirit,
Let's get ready. 
Let's be Advent-ready.
Christ comes!

This is a time 
to sync my life 
with God's rule.
A time to confess. 
Bear good fruit.
Christ comes!

First emphasis: 
Love God.
Followed by: 
Care for the oppressed, 
the hungry, 
for foreigners.
Christ comes!

Over and over,
the Prophets 
and Psalms admonish:
Pursue justice.
Pursue peace.
Christ comes!

For healing, 
the poor 
and poor in spirit. 
For feeble hands
and wobbly knees.
Christ comes!

And miracles:
From elderly childbearing,
to a virgin birth,
with stars 
and angels.
The intersection 
of the Divine 
and humanity.
Christ comes!

Our God
- in Jesus -
to revive us,
to restore us,
to save us!
Christ comes 
at Christmas!