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Religious

September 1, 2022

November 1, 2022

This is a storied time of year.

 

In a few weeks, families will gather around a Thanksgiving table graced with a stuffed turkey, potatoes, cranberry dressing, a green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie. Shopping will commence, a tree will be trimmed for Christmas, carols will fill the air, gifts will be exchanged, and families will gather around a table graced with its traditional Christmas fare.

 

In some homes, though, all will not be as it was. Some families will be celebrating in a new home far from family and longtime friends. Others will be celebrating their first Christmas with a child or their spouse. A few will be employed to watch, wait, or complete essential work. Far too many families will gather around a table where its familiar joy is shaded by absence of one deeply loved.

 

In such a year, I find myself drawn to the grace within the cold, harsh settings our original holiday stories. The grateful joy of that first thanksgiving feast shared by the colonists and their Native American friends following a cold, harsh winter and a lean season of waiting for a bountiful harvest.  The tradition of our current Thanksgiving Holiday established during a time of great economic insecurity. The story of the first Christmas set in a stable located far from home and told to shepherds watching over their flocks by night.  Joy isn’t always found in a clear sky over a fresh fallen snow, it is also heard in the song of an angel filling the night with news of new life and in the joy of a soul seeing a promise coming true.

 

 In the days after Christmas, Luke writes that Joseph and Mary carried Jesus to Jerusalem to fulfill the command that every firstborn male be consecrated to the Lord. Two prophets were there that day. The first was Simeon who was waiting to realize the promise of Christmas.  Seeing Jesus, he took the child in his arms with great joy and thanksgiving. “You may now dismiss your servant in peace, he said to God. “My eyes have seen your salvation… a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel.” (Luke 2:29-32) The second was Anna, a widow of many years. When she saw Jesus, she too thanked God and spoke of Jesus to anyone who would listen. The promise, joy, hope, and love of God, it seems, have a way of finding us wherever we are.

 

May it be so with you. In this storied season, may the light that shines in darkness, dawn in you. May the Lord increase your joy and renew your life in the birth of the one who is called the Prince of Peace.

In His Grace,

Pastor Skip