Saturday, December 24, 2011


'I 'm Listening' photo (c) 2007, Steve Johnson - license: we'll sit in our churches. We'll half listen to the sermon while smile at the children adorned in their fluffy dresses and clip-on ties. We'll read our bulletins during the announcements. We'll "ooh" and "aah" at the soft candlelight as we sing Silent Night for yet another Christmas eve.

Hark! The herald angels sing!

Our minds may wander to the people that we'll be seeing and our complicated relationships with them. We'll think about the co-worker who slighted us. The family member who annoyed us. The church member who offended us. The friends who we've drifted away from. The distances that we feel between us and our fellow man.

Pleased as man with man to dwell.

We may feel uncomfortable about the sacrifice of Christmas. Easter is easier. Giving up your life is huge. It's the kind of grand gesture that is the stuff of love songs and epic poetry. But it's not a path that many of us will have to follow. The example of Christmas is something that each of us is called to every day.

Mild he lays his glory by, born that man no more may die.

Our thoughts may dwell on the ways we've failed over the year. Promises that we've broken. Harsh words that we've uttered, or merely thought. Selfish acts. Unloving acts. Hurtful acts. Our hearts break at the ways that we have fallen short of God's expectations for us. Of our expectations for ourselves.

God and sinners reconciled.

The waiting is nearly over. Our minds race with anticipation, with fear, with regret. But as we go through this day, let us not forget to listen. And in that listening, let us find peace.

Hark! The herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!"



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