Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Eve 2019

It has arrived--the day before the day!

I remember that when I was a kid, Christmas Eve was the longest day of the year. It would drag on forever and I would look forward to church and the candle light service because I knew that after church it was time for bed and then the BIG day would arrive. 

In retrospect, Christmas Eve is an important day. It is the epitome of preparation. 

Today we will gather the family for a brunch to start what has become a two-day holiday. And this year, thanks to an Executive Order for the President, federal workers have an official two-day holiday, so I did not have to take leave, as I usually do, to enjoy the holiday. 

And so, on the Christmas Eve, let me offer a prayer to all. It is not of my own writing, but I found it on Crosswalk and it spoke to me. 

Lord, in a season when every heart should be happy and light, many of us are struggling with the heaviness of life—burdens that steal the joy right out of our Christmas stockings. Crazy weather disasters strike at unsuspecting areas, ravaging peaceful homes and interrupting the lives of unsuspecting residents. Tragedy arrives as innocent victims suffer, and an inner voice whispers, “Be afraid!” We need your peace, Jesus.
Lord, we still carol the wonderful message, huddled beneath winter caps on snow-covered porches, or from churches, led by enthusiastic musicians or choir members. Yet we confess that our hearts are too often filled with wonder of a different kind: wondering when the bills will be paid, when the terror will stop, when rest will come. Will it ever? Is the message still true?
In a world where worry, not peace, prevails, stir up that good news again. This Christmas, make it real in our hearts. Never have we needed Your joy and peace more than now. Thank You for the gift of Jesus, our Immanuel, the Word made flesh. Forgive us for forgetting—that Your love never changes, never fades, and that You never abandon the purpose for which You came: to save us from our sinful condition, and to give us life eternal, the joy of relationship with a holy God. Your birth—and Your death—sealed Your promise to us forever. Amen.
-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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