Dearest Members of Bethlehem,
“Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for
you to wake from sleep.” -Romans 13:11-14
We stick around after church, there is muted conversation about what
awaits us. Plans are hatched, important materials distributed.
Within fifteen to twenty minutes, the smell of pizza migrates from the
fellowship hall to our nostrils, it’s time for lunch. We do not linger over
our repast, there is an urgency and a sense of anticipation. We will
need the fortification, because this is the day.
This is the day we load our young people into cars and minivans and
drive around the neighborhood. Our pilgrimage has a purpose, we are
to sing Christmas carols to our siblings in Christ.
It’s usually cold… not bitterly so, but just enough to give us pause.
We search for gloves and mittens, some will wear scarves. There are
still others with Santa hats. Every bit of it; the jostling, the repeated
requests for, “Good King Wenceslas,” the festive clothing, and the
expansive smiles plastered on our faces all contribute to the
atmosphere. How can something this simple be so much fun? It’s not a rhetorical
question. Here’s why, we are on the move. We are taking our message of good
cheer, the news of Christ’s incarnation out from the church into the
Second, we know the story. The words of these carols are lodged
somewhere deep within the recesses of our spirits. Is this what was
meant when Scripture suggested that the new covenant would be
“written on our hearts?” Yep, kind of, I think so.
Thirdly, those we visit are so delighted by our presence they shout
their requests and listen intently to what it is we have to share.
There’s a shared joy, a mutuality, a holy synergy that is felt by
Lastly, but certainly not least, for an hour or so…. as we remember the
lines to our favorite carols, we forget everything else. It is a kind of
holy forgetting, a freedom often found by those consumed by a
singular purpose. And our singular purpose? Yes, it’s the one rooted in the way Jesus
summed up all the law and the prophets… it’s love. Even as we
adjust our goofy Santa hats, we’re basking in that love. It’s from God,
is given back to God, and there’s enough to spare to share with our
We’re just caroling, but by the grace of God, we’re glimpsing
everything God has ever hoped for us. Pass the song sheets, I’m
ready to go. I can hardly wait until December 11th!
Question for reflection: Besides “Good King Wenceslas,” what is your
favorite Christmas Carol?
This week at Bethlehem:
On Tuesday evening our Senior High Youth will be gathering at 7:00
for “Escape Room Night,” at Breakout Games on McKnight Road
(please be there a little early, thanks).
On Friday, Greening of the Church begins at 6:00, please join us!
Our spoken word service of Holy Communion will begin at 6:00,
on Saturday evening.
On Sunday morning we will offer worship at 8:00 and 10:30 with
Sunday School at 9:15.
Yours in Christ,
Gracious Lord, as the candles in the Advent wreath illuminate our
sanctuary, may the light of Christ brighten our spirits. We are awaiting
the glorious moment when we will celebrate your incarnation in
earnest, bless our moments of preparation with peace and joy. We
pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.