Thursday, December 24, 2015

Moved to Tears of Joy

So Christmas is always a hard time for me.

I miss my grandparents. I miss the trip over the mountains into Tennessee.  Leaving in southeastern North Carolina, I miss the cooler weather (80 degrees on Christmas Day!)

As a pastor, this is my BUSIEST time of year... addition rehearsals for musicals and cantatas, additional end of the year meetings and evaluations, additional worship services, phone calls, and visits that need to be made but some don't happen...

Also as pastor, I'm mindful of the pain many are feeling, the dark nights, the deep hurts, the grief, the emptiness, the loneliness.  My prayers are continually filled with longing for the hope of Christmas, the light that breaks into the darkness.

So I've begun a practice of looking for hope, watching for signs of Christ's coming.

There are many:
the gifts of love shared over meals,
the glow of candlelight in churches,
Christmas meals shared
in soup kitchens and food pantries and churches serving those in need,
carrying a homemade loaf of banana bread to an elderly neighbor and being invited into their house and into their lives as they tell stories...

This year there is a song I heard online.
The background is busy.
There is talking and laughing.
It's not a romantic ideal.
It's real life.
It's about the child to be born,
but it holds real life.
The song's refrain reminds us
that Christmas is not about me --
Christ was born "for the good of us all!"
And his birth is just the beginning.
There is life; there is teaching; there is healing;
there is challenge; there is death; there is resurrection.
"for the good of us all!"

This year I was moved to tears of joy with this song:


In a byre near Bethlehem
Passed by many a wandering stranger
The most precious Word of Life
Was heard gurgling in a manger
For the good of us all

By the Galilean Lake
Where the people flocked for teaching
The most precious Word of Life
Fed their mouths as well as preaching
For the good of us all

And He’s here when we call Him
Bringing health, love, and laughter
To life now and ever after
For the good of us all

Quiet was Gethsemane
Camouflaging priest and soldier
The most precious Word of Life
Took the world's weight on His shoulder
For the good of us all

On the hill of Calvary
Place to end all hope of living
The most precious Word of Life
Breathed His last and died, forgiving
For the good of us all

In a garden, just at dawn
Near the grave of human violence
The most precious Word of Life
Cleared His throat and ended silence
For the good of us all

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