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Monday Morning Message December 11, 2023

Dearest Members of Bethlehem,

It won’t be long now and the wait will be over, we’ll gather to share in the great narrative, and we will hear again the most reassuring words, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” -Luke 2:14

And then, we might wonder amid all the stress of the season… amid the disappointments we have known through the course of the year, amid the worries that await on the horizon in the next - am I one of the blessed ones with whom God is pleased?  Will I have the privilege of benefitting from this “peace” that has come into the world?

In short, of course!  God would never withhold such a glorious gift from God’s children!  But, I can say… I think there are some meaningful spiritual practices that can help us dwell in this “peace” a little more readily.  How?

Well, since I asked Santa for some golf gear, that great sport has been on my mind these last couple of days.  And one of the bits of blessed wisdom that I once heard from a golf instructor was… “you can only control the controllables.”  Sincerely, here is a piece of advice that is as valuable within our lives of discipleship as it is on the links.

Golfers can waste a ton of time and energy worrying about course conditions, what their playing partners think of them, and whether or not it’s going to rain torrentially within the next 30 minutes.  Yet, the truth of the matter is… no matter how much mental energy you expend worrying about such things, it will neither improve your game nor your experience on the course.  “You can only control the controllables.”

As we prepare for Christmas Eve and our New Year’s celebrations… my recommendation is this: if you truly want to savor the “peace” of this season, simply focus on “controlling the controllables.”  We can’t change the weather.  We can’t anticipates the dead batteries in our cars.  We certainly can’t reshape Amazon’s logistics systems.  What can we do?  Embrace every day with a spirit of gratitude.  Treasure each and every passing moment with the knowledge that this truly is a sacred time in which our God is present.  And trust, that maybe nothing else in this world is more important that knowing that we our heirs of the kingdom thanks to this little child born in Bethlehem so long ago!             

Question for reflection: Have you sat next to a Christmas tree and simply taken a deep breath recently?

Yours in Christ,

Pastor Dan

Gracious Lord, as we draw ever-closer to the celebration of Christmas keep us ever-mindful that faith, hope, and love continue to abide… and the greatest of these is love.  We thank you that your love continues to sustain and inspire us.  We pray this all in Jesus’ name, Amen.

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