Scripture Reading: If you put an end to oppression, to every gesture of contempt, and to every evil work; if you give food to the hungry and satisfy those who are in need, then the darkness around you will turn to the brightness of noon.Isaiah 58:10
God has made us what we are, and in our union with Christ Jesus He has created us for a life of good deeds, which He has already prepared for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10)
Meditation: Among my fondest Christmas memories are the Christmas Eve services at Fredericksburg Baptist Church –the traditional hymns, the candles, the sense of family, big and small. It is a time of great joy when we allow ourselves to think about new beginnings and hope for a better world.
In many ways that is the essence of Christmas. It is a journey toward hope. But God’s call to each of us is to put hope into action. It would be a mistake to only see the joy and hope that the baby Jesus represents and not listen to the rest of the story, the story of God’s call to reconciliation for each of us and for those whose lives we touch every day. Our response to the journey after Christmas must be, “Here I am Lord, send me.”
Thus, as we celebrate this holy day, we must recognize that the journey to Christmas was to prepare us for the hard work of the journey from Christmas. The road is long and filled with trials but the Jesus we meet on Christmas Day travels with us, if we choose to let Him. And He transforms us on the journey.
These words from John Westerhoff, III say it well:
We have been called into a visionary community to risky, laughable lives of tomorrow’s people, to live in and for God’s dream, to witness to a world of peace and unity, freedom and equality, of justice and well being for all people. We are called to accept the cost and the joy of discipleship, to proclaim the word and deed of the good news of God’s dream come true. God promises us courage and strength in the struggle for peace and justice; God forgives us our failures and lifts us up to new possibilities; God is present in our trials and rejoicing and hopes from this day forward.
Prayer: Oh Lord, thank You for the joy of Christmas and Your gift of hope wrapped in swaddling clothes. Please travel with us on the journey ahead and continually remind us that if we are faithful to the trek, not only will we find friends along the way, not only will we find the beautiful and the true and the good and the lovely and the delicious tastes and sounds and smells and sights given to us by the Creator of the journey …but we will also catch a vision of what is at the end of the road. Amen.
(paraphrase from Ken Medema)