December 2, 2012
Excerpt from Luke 21:25-36
"Pray constantly that you will have the strength and wits to make it through everything that's coming and end up on your feet before the Son of Man." (The Message)
Reflection by William C. Green
May we have "the strength and wits" to make it through everything that's coming up between now and Christmas! Much lies ahead before we celebrate the birth of Jesus, "the Son of Man."
Making sure our gift list is complete, making family arrangements, remembering family differences, planning holiday meals, reckoning with travel plans and weather delays, anticipating parties and wondering which to attend, recollecting the real spirit of the season—all this demands a lot. Even more demanding is the depression that sets in for many during holiday seasons like this.
Advent does not discount these inevitabilities. That would further distance church and faith from daily life. The whole meaning of Christmas is that Jesus is born into daily life as it is, not as it ought to be. That's the meaning of "Incarnation"—the Word made flesh—the heart of Christmas and the heartbeat of faith. "The Word made flesh" means that in the coming of Jesus we see that God is with us, whoever we are and however we feel—walking the same ground we do, facing the same challenges we must. So Christianity has been called the most materialistic of all religions. Its spirituality is physical and practical not ascetic and aloof.
We live contrary to Christmas when we complain about the hassles and compromises that are simply part of personal, family, and business life. We are to find Jesus, the spirit of God, amid all this. This can be hard. Our own spirits sag when not energized by prayer. Through prayer and the support of worship we will "make it through everything that's coming up" at Christmas, or any other time.
"Blessed are You, Lord, for bearing us up, for carrying us when we are weak, for supporting us when our strength fails, for emboldening us when we feel afraid. Your care, dear Lord, sustains us like nothing else in the entire world." Psalm 68:19
Looking for a way to say "thanks" to someone at church? Click here to preview and order How Can We Thank You?, a new collection of reflections from the Stillspeaking Writers' Group.
Ms. Christina Villa
Director of Publishing, Identity & Communication
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio 44115