Lord, Advent and Christmas are a dark time for many, a time when the pain of past and present injuries and losses become almost unbearable. A time we’d rather not face all over again.
And yet, the purpose of Advent is to remind us of our brokenness and sin, of our need for the grace and healing touch of a God who loves us fiercely and compassionately. Further, Christmas teaches us that God knows our pain because God has lived it: walking among us as one of us, as a human being. Jesus experienced birth, the love of a devoted mother, the pain of losing those dear to him. He knew rejection, hunger, despair and fear. He was betrayed by those he loved, and he experienced a painful and humiliating death. God knows what it means to be human. God knows our deepest, greatest, most deeply hidden fears, failures and weaknesses.
And so, our faith tells us, Jesus is Emmanuel – the God who walks with us. God and the Kingdom of Heaven are near us at the hardest of moments, and for every moment of our lives, including now.
Know that you are loved. Know that God has, and will, do anything and everything to free us from the troubles and trials that are an inherent and inescapable part of our journey through life. In fact we are already freed, for the certainty of that freedom and healing is what is in our future. We cannot escape healing, for God is with us on every step of our journey; no matter how dark our valley may be. We are pursued by our Creator’s fierce, relentless love until we are finally embraced in God’s strong, loving arms and so come to dwell in the House of the Lord, forever.
And so, we beseech you, most Holy One, to hear us as we pray for those in need, for those afflicted by calamity, for those whose lives have been changed by illness, loss, and death. And, most especially, we lift up the names of those here in our own community of faith who have asked to be remembered in prayer here this morning, Amen.
Copyright (c) 2014, Allen Vander Meulen III, all rights reserved. I’m happy to share my writings with you, as long as proper credit for my authorship is given. (e.g., via a credit that gives my full name and/or provides a link back to this site – or just email me and ask!)