Psalm 32:11 Be glad in LORD and rejoice, O righteous,
and shout for joy, all you upright in heart
The Psalmist says to “shout for joy, all you upright in heart,” but I am not very joyful, this year and in all honesty I don’t feel ‘upright’ at the moment. I have been listening to the news, which is something I should stop doing, and all I hear is hate for those different from us. Different in skin color, gender preference, in faith’s, in cultures you name it and someone has said they need to be ‘controlled’, or denied services, or denied entry into our country. I have see the faces on the news of those who say this country should only be for white, Christian, heterosexual and English speaking people and they aren’t handsome faces.
There are days when I am fearful of the path our country is headed down because there doesn’t seem to be many who are willing to stand up against the voices of hate. When those who we are supposed to trust and respect fill their messages with hate the targets of that hateful speech become targets of violence because people feel they now have permission to act out their own fears in a violent way.
Where is the joy for the families of the victims of the San Bernardino, Sandy Hook, and Oregon mass killings? Where is the joy for the congregations of the churches and Mosques that have been set on fire? Where is the joy for the refugees struggling to survive in a world turned against them? On Christmas Morning we will open our presents, eat fine meals, and enjoy the company of family yet so many will be remembering loved ones not at the table, or won’t have presents or food to eat.
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of light into the world. That light came into our world in a stable not a palace. Jesus’ parents were poor struggling peasants not rich CEO’s of some big company. Yet they managed to find joy in the simple presence of cattle, a donkey, and sheep, can we be so fortunate to see joy in the simple things? Joy in a simple meal, a child’s smile, the wrinkled face of a granny or grandpa. Joy in giving socks, gloves, hats, scarves to someone on the street, joy in the presence of a loved one, or in the warmth of a companion animal. That is what Christmas is about not gifts, or table burdened with enough food to feed a small village. Can we offer that joy to someone who might not have joy without our help? So on your list of gifts add a few more. Put down sock or gloves for homeless, visit a neighbor or elderly person who will be alone this year, better yet invite them to join you for Christmas day in your home. I guarantee that your Christmas will be brighter and more joyful for giving your presence and being the gift.
Meditations for a Mindful Advent
Queen Anne Christian Church
Slow down . . . seek hope
Buy less . . . create peace
Eat less . . . embrace joy
Worry less . . . give love
Prepare your heart for new birth.
An Advent Prayer
God who causes stars to burn and energy to flow,
may Your presence be made known to us in new ways.
When we wonder where You are, shine Your light in new ways.
When we wonder why bad things happen, help us to find all of Your goodness.
When we feel hopeless, help us to become Your hope in the world.
You have created us out of stardust, and breathed into us life.
In You, all things are possible, and all things are created new.
Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer, as we await the birth of the light of Christ
may we come to know You in new ways on this journey of faith. Amen.
Joy – The Third Week of Advent
Light three candles and pray “An Advent Prayer.”
Laughter is carbonated holiness.
— Anne Lamott
I would love to live like a river flows,
carried by the surprise of its own unfolding.
— John O’Donohue
Morning: In anticipation of the day, where might you add levity and playfulness?
Evening: As the day ends, where did you find laughter and ease?
Offer a prayer for those in need of joy; include yourself.
Ruth Jewell ©December 15, 2015, Advent Meditations by Laurie Rudel, Pastor Queen Anne Christian Church, Seattle, WA