Dearest Members of Bethlehem,
“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.” -Luke 1:46-48
Be on the lookout in the days ahead! Open your hearts and your minds!
Now, when I typically say those kinds of things, I am about to encourage you to look for the signs of God’s presence, grace, and glory in your lives.
But today the holiday season looms on the horizon. And I want to encourage you to be on the lookout, but I want you to be on the lookout for those folks who may find these days difficult.
Pray for the lonely among us, these are hard days for them, even better… make a call or schedule a visit.
Seek out the elder who just isn’t getting out as much as they used to, drop off a hot cup of cocoa and some cookies.
Reach out to the quiet, but friendly person at work and invite them to join the others for lunch.
Find a way to affirm the child you know is getting bullied; the child that feels left out, undesirable, or misunderstood; tell them how beautiful, creative, and valued they are. Mean it when you say it and provide some examples that bolster your encouragement.
If you have the means, if you have been so inspired, give an anonymous gift to someone you know is struggling financially. Maybe your expression of generosity will enable the other to buy some Christmas gifts for their loved ones. Maybe it’ll put a slightly bigger turkey on the table, or a more decadent, more memorable dessert.
These days of holiday parties, family gatherings, day-long shopping trips, and huge family meals… they aren’t the same for everyone. There are those among us with heavy hearts, those battling addictions, those grieving the loss of their most beloved loved one. This is their time too.
To graciously acknowledge the struggle won’t diminish the “joy” or the season we hold so dear… to reach out in love and compassion won’t take anything away from the festivities but will only add to the experience.
Let’s stick together this season, let’s be sure we get everyone to the manger… in the hope that all of us might witness the true Light coming into the world.
Question for reflection: Do you have some creative ideas about how to be a blessing to others in this sacred season?
This week at Bethlehem:
On Wednesday we continue our weekly Bible Study with classes at 10:30 and 7:00.
Please note, there will be no Saturday evening worship service this week.
On Sunday morning we will offer worship at 8:00 and 10:30 with Sunday School at 9:15. Confirmation, Youth Group, and J.A.M. all begin at 6:30.
Yours in Christ,
God of mercy, grant us the patience we need to be merciful, provide the perspective we need to be optimistic, and inspire in us the hope we need to persevere in our most-important work. We pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.