I know this has been the year of many crazy things, both good and bad. But as the Christmas season falls on us like frost in the night, let us not just chip away at what remains of this tumultuous year. Instead, during this season, we need a Christmas Prayer full of anticipation, hope, and life.
The thought that the very center of our Christmas story is the birth of a baby seems to set the tone for this season. This year on my street we have been eagerly anticipating the birth of four new neighbors. Something as natural as birth is filled with so much joyful mystery. We know that a baby is coming, but we don’t know when. Families nearing the 38th and 39th week of pregnancy are very watchful.
Or, for some of you who may be like me, this year I have been very vigilant over every cough, scratchy through, and sniffle. Our belief is that something is coming, but when? I wish my vigilance towards the things of God was as keen as my vigilance for Coronavirus. May our Christmas Prayer grow in anticipation, watchfulness, and belief that Advent is imminent. Jesus is the light shining through the darkness (John 1:5).
I struggle sometimes that Christmas gets in the way of Christmas. Are you following me? Sometimes the celebration of Christmas causes us to take our eyes off of the true hope of Christmas. Have you experienced a time this year when you made a purchase online with the justification of “I owe myself this”? It has been extremely easy for me to soothe my needy heart with purchases and luxuries, all in the name of 2020.
Christmas is a time when we indulge ourselves in gifts and extra things we don’t necessarily need. And sure, they bring us joy for a moment, but they don’t satisfy our hearts in the way we wish they would. It is because they are a replacement for the real hope that is Jesus. Friends, we are awaiting the Second Advent of Jesus because it comes with a promise that God will make all things new (Romans 8:20). The creation will be changed. Satan, sin, and death will be forever cast away. This hope is a giant hole that no other present can replace. May our Christmas Prayer grow in the hope of a coming Savior.
Something about winter and the shorter days makes me tired. Even today, it is a bit cold out and the thought of snuggling up with a blanket and doing nothing inside the comfort of my warm house sounds nice. It is tempting to simply pass the long days away.
This season is the bitter end of a long quarantine that has left many of us focused on ourselves. It is a year marked by the slogan, “every man (woman) for himself.” But the Lord calls us to love. Jesus says, “The greatest among you must be a servant” (Matthew 23:11). May our Christmas Prayer be an alarm to awaken us from the slumber of this season and revive us to a life of active service and joyful praise.
O Lord our God, make us watchful and keep us faithful as we await the coming of your Son our Lord; That, when he shall appear, He may not find us sleeping in sin but active in his service and joyful in his praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (Book of Common Prayer)
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