My Prayer for 2018
I have chuckled a few times in the days following Christmas Day. Of course in the hearts and minds of Christians who embrace the traditional faith teachings on things Christmas-related, the Christmas Season actually does not begin until Christmas Day (or Eve) and then lasts through the Day of Epiphany (usually we get 2 Sundays in Christmas). I have heard and seen comments about getting ready for Christmas 2018 (explaining why people still have their trees and decorations up) and even a meme from the Episcopalians (using Downton Abbey of course) reminding us that what “is proper” is to leave the tree up through Epiphany. These have been funny moments observing people both share and ask others about the various traditions and understandings of the Season’s decorations and trappings.
Unfortunately, there has been a noticeably lesser amount of comment on the real reason for our Christmas celebration — the incarnation of God in Jesus Christ, and how we ought to continue to give God praise and thanksgiving for this incredible gift of love. It feels like so many have gone back to the way things were before Christmas Day. Selfishness, rudeness, self-centeredness, greed, to name a few, are prominent, it seems again, and gone (or at least less evident) are warm wishes and greetings, acts of kindness or helpfulness, and compassion.
Maybe we can be challenged by this to be a better presence in the world. Just as God came into the world as a gift of love for the world, we can come into other’s presence and continue to be messengers or at least a sign of God’s love. We are not the Christ, but we can be Christ for someone who is struggling, or hopeless, or even confused if we are willing to share ourselves with others. This is what we Christians can and should do, not just at Christmas, but every moment of our lives.
As we gather regularly throughout the year and celebrate the seasons of the Christian year, we have heightened awareness about particular things, usually related to the life and experiences of Jesus or the early Church, so that we don’t remain complacent or focused on any one thing in our individual and/or communal journeys of discipleship. These things are important, and can even cause some chuckling along the way, as people embrace them for their lives or simply observe customs and traditions of others who find our practices, routines, and rituals meaningful for the Christian experience.
My prayer for us during 2018 is that not only will we meet regularly (to worship and also in our small groups), but that we will continue to be people who are Christ’s presence and messengers of grace and hope to our community and the world. We are in a unique time and even place to make a difference. God is blessing us and we are called to bless others so that God is praised and glorified. People are watching…what will our response be today, tomorrow, and next month?
See You in Worship!