Scripture:  Tears may flow in the night, but joy comes in the morning.  (Psalm 30:5b)

 I have come that you might have life — life in all its fullness. (John 10:10)

MeditationMichael was nearly dead when he came to the Christ House medical recovery facility for the homeless.  Years of poor choices had all but destroyed his body, and he languished in bed for days.  Gradually, with rest, proper nutrition and hydration, and the introduction of appropriate medications, his body began to respond.  His vital signs improved, and he was finally able to take his meals in the dining room with the other patients.  He began spending more time out of bed, helping with daily chores and getting to know the staff and other patients.  A ready smile and laugh and a sense of humor began to be revealed.  Michael was rising from near death in more than just a physical way.  He completed the facility’s drug rehab program and was then able to move into Kairos, the long-term housing program of Christ House for former patients committed to recovery.

When Michael put on more strength-giving weight and muscle he could often be seen on weekends helping to strip and re-wax the floors, giving other patients haircuts, or giving a hand in any number of jobs that needed doing.  He became a regular in the Christ House worship service, too, serving communion, reading scripture, or sharing from his heart when called upon.  He seemed to have opened some previously-shut doors of his life to God, and God, in turn, seemed to be filling him with abundant life.  The addiction to drugs was displaced by the much more powerful high of God’s abundant blessings.

When Michael heard that a group of Christ House staff persons and Kairos residents were going to the Christian community of prayer, scripture, and singing in Taize, France, he jumped at the opportunity.  Taize draws thousands of persons, mostly young people, from all over the world at a time.  Three times a day the bells of Taize ring out to summon the pilgrims to worship.  During one evening worship time in Taize, Michael found himself standing before this group of several thousand pilgrim worshippers telling them how God had saved and was still working in his life to give him an abundance of blessings he never dreamed possible.  Afterwards, scores of young people crowded around him to get to know him better and hear more about his changed life.

One of the saints of old has written that “we have not because we ask not.”  Michael did ask.  He was asking of God by opening his life to God’s seemingly impossible possibilities.  And who could have imagined the abundant, mega-joyous results?

Prayer Gracious God, on this Christmas Eve ripe with joy and promise as we await the celebration of Christ’s birth, let us not forget that You are the great Dreamer of joyful dreams, the supreme Lord of joyful imagination, and that with You, nothing, absolutely nothing, is impossible.  Amen.

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