Let us Pray:
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all our hearts be acceptable to you, O Lord our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
It is Christmas Eve once more. We are gathered, some perhaps with thoughts of dreamy devotion, others perhaps with thoughts of the work ahead this evening; all of us here because in some measure deep within our hearts, something tugs at us; seeking perhaps a new wholeness, or a moment of restful fellowship, or perhaps, just perhaps, to simply worship Christ, the babe, who comes to us in a manger.
If any of those reasons are true, or perhaps others I have not mentioned, one thing is clear. You are here. And Christ came into the world for you. Christ also came into the world for those who are not here; those estranged from us, those who have not heard the Gospel preached or had the love of God extended to them. I can only imagine that it might sadden the heart of God when we do not turn to our neighbors and offer them even a small smile of joy or greeting. And perhaps, if we really think about it, on some deeper level it also, in the words of Karl Barth,
“…Saddens us that we are so cut off from each other, that there are always such different worlds – you in your house and me in my house, you with your thoughts and me with mine. This is simply not the way life is meant to be, this separate life we all lead. But with one single change, we could have infinitely more joy and good fortune and righteousness among us, if we could open our hearts and talk with each other.”
Such a simple thing yet why do we find it so hard sometimes? Maybe, because we first must open our hearts to God. Our hearts must be open and ready to receive our Lord at his coming. Then, as we are filled with the Holy Spirit, we are empowered to turn to one another, and share this wonder, that God, Emmanuel, has come to us, that we are the recipients of God’s love, a love come home, into the very depths of our own hearts.
In the words of Philip Britt, “Once we realize why Christ came to earth, why he was born as a helpless baby in a manger, and why his whole life was lived as an outcast…then can we begin to answer the question “how” – How can we begin to find God again; how can we experience peace on earth?”
It begins with open hearts. When our hearts are open, then love comes home to live within us. Thanks be to God for this great gift, the gift of God’s son our Lord, who being God and Love and Word incarnate, came even unto us to show us the way everlasting.
May it be so.
Work Sited: Advent devotional Wait for the Light