Declare

This Weekend’s Scripture ~ Luke 2:15-20.

A couple years ago I had the privilege to attend the Trans-Siberian Orchestra Concert with Andrew and six very dear friends. What an experience! Lights – sounds – huge screen projections – incredible musicianship – and indoor pyrotechnics. Incredible!

Their show began with their story called The Ghosts of Christmas Eve. It tells the tale of a young girl that finds sanctuary on Christmas Eve in an old theater. The ghosts draw her into their past experiences as their way of meeting her where she is, offering her comfort, and preparing to send her on her way home for Christmas.

(And then later on a dragon appeared…)

The Ghosts of Christmas Eve included suspenseful and delightful moments. Through an amazing cacophony of sound – and so much sensory engagement one could easily slip into overload – clear voices sang through with hope.

Hope for reunification. Hope for forgiveness. Hope for coming home.

Songs of hope that began with these words so long ago…”Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors” (Lk 2:14)!

Christ’s nativity was suspenseful and delightful. Christ’s nativity is our gateway to reunification, forgiveness, and coming home – with God and neighbor.

That is my wish for you this Christmas. Admire and enjoy the spectacle, but do not miss the true meaning and purpose of Christmas in the sights and sounds. God meets us in the world – in the flesh – and offers us sanctuary. Christ came into a world that did not want him and equally ached for him. That environment of 2000 years ago describes us still today.

We need this Jesus. We need our Christ to forgive and to teach us to forgive. Jesus brings us together. Jesus journeys with us home to God.

This Sunday our choir will lead us in worship as they declare our Savior’s birth as they offer Jesus! The Advent of the Messiah at our 11am Worship Service. Join us for this special time of worship and song.

Prayer: “Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere; go, tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born. Down in a lowly manger the humble Christ was born, and God sent us salvation that blessed Christmas morn. Go, tell it on the mountain, over the hills and everywhere; go, tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born.”* Amen.

*“Go, Tell It on the Mountain,” The United Methodist Hymnal 251.

 

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An Unusual Gift

Scripture ~ Luke 2:1-20

Merry Christmas One and All! This week we celebrate the gift of our Savior to the world. Christ is the greatest gift to ever be received.

As I prepare the gifts I will give this year during Christmastide, I am aware of an unusual gift I will also give. Shortly after Christmas I will donate my hair to Beautiful Lengths, which is a partnership program between Pantene and the American Cancer Society.  The goal of Beautiful Lengths is to “help women grow long, strong beautiful hair and to provide the funds to turn this hair into free, real-hair wigs for women with cancer.”

I have donated my hair several times throughout my life. I remember my donation cut in 2012.  At that time my hairdresser shared space with a colleague and she was doing a trial wedding hairdo for her client that day. Wesley brushed my hair, gathered it in a rubber band, and raised the scissors to my about-to-be-cut ponytail and Wesley’s colleague’s client screamed, “NO!!!!!!!” So I had to opportunity to share with her why my hair would be 14 inches shorter than when I arrived.

Another joy of donating hair is mailing it at the post office. The postal worker asks the standard question – are you shipping anything fragile or hazardous – and replying that I am shipping human hair always draws a smile or two…

This donation to Beautiful Lengths is especially dear to me this year as several of my dear friends are bravely walking the path to recovery from breast cancer. These women and their families have faced this disease head on with strength and grace and spirits that will not be burdened by this disease. I dedicate my gift of hair in honor of Bena, Shelly, and Jennifer. You ladies are inspirations to me and I thank God daily for your continued health and healing.

In this season of gift giving God teaches us that in giving we receive. God also teaches us to be surprised by gifts – those we receive and those we give. God may be calling you to give in usual ways, but do not limit God if God calls you to give unusually. In my experience the unusual reveals the extraordinary.  Christ’s incarnation in a humble stable was quite unusual and that was just the beginning of a extraordinary life that would gift and save us one and all.

Following the example of our God, may we give unusually.  May we give extraordinarily.  May we give.

Prayer: “What can I give him, poor as I am?  If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb; if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part; yet what I can I give him: give my heart.”* Amen.

*”In the Bleak Midwinter,” The United Methodist Hymnal 221.