“Comfort, oh comfort my people, says your God… A voice cries out: “In the wilderness, prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” Isaiah 40:1, 3
“Of one hundred men, one will read the Bible; the [other] ninety-nine will read the Christian.” Dwight Moody, American evangelist and theologian
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, unless you’re on a budget, you’ve lost your job, you’re lonely, your diet is restricted, you’re over-obligated…How is it that in October- a simple Christmas sounds wonderful, but comes November 1st, we’re in a race to “survive” the season?
The thing is, even though we all know the story of Christmas, we forget the feeling of Christmas. Somewhere in the shopping, the hurrying, the traditions… we lose sight God’s call to us.
We are not called, at this time of the year, to point to the manger and say, “Hey, that’s what this is really all about.” We’re called to stop at the manger and linger. Think of the shepherds, trembling at the presence of a holy being among them. Think of Mary, carrying the person of God within her. Consider Joseph, walking in faith despite what people must have said about his fiancée. Remember the wise men, who believed the signs they saw and sought out the new King.
We live in a stressed and anxious time. People are afraid, not only people “out there”, but people in our own faith family. We are people of Hope… living with the hope of what God promises through Jesus and living with the faith of what God has delivered in Him as well.
People are watching us, you and me, to see if we retain our joy, if our steps reflect the hope we say we have. So consider the words of Isaiah and offer comfort to those around you- through your actions and your words.
For many people, this is one of the few times a year that they come to church or they think about faith. They look to people they know who are “faithful people” for examples and for leadership. That’s us. When we look to the manger, the world looks to us.
So, in this season of busy-ness, take a moment. Look at the manger. Look at it, ponder it in your heart, until you can look away and reflect the light of love that lies there to those around you. The baby that lies in the straw holds the hope and promise of God’s love and mercy for the whole world.