The SPIRE – December 2017

Dear Edwards Church Community,

You must have noticed how much can be said in a simple Christmas carol. We all have our favorites. Right now, I am thinking especially of “Away in a Manger” and the depth woven into its simplicity.

Away in a manger no crib for his bed, the little Lord Jesus laid down his sweet head. The stars in the sky looked down where he lay, the little Lord Jesus asleep on the hay.”

The anonymous writer of this simple song paints a picture that invites the imagination to take in the whole Christmas message in a single moment of realization.  God – incarnated as “the little Lord Jesus” – chooses to identify so closely with us and our vulnerability that God goes “all in,” accepts the risks and pains of being human, sleeps on the hay, and in the process transforms our lives.

“The cattle are lowing, the baby awakes, but little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes. I love thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky, and stay by my cradle till morning is nigh.

It happens without our thinking, but the perspective shifts from the tenderness of the baby Jesus, with no crib for his bed and the stars looking down on his sleeping, to our tenderness and need for the assurance offered by a newborn who does not cry, but who looks down from his place among the stars to both watch over and be in our lives.

This Advent, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, I hope – as I do every Christmas – that we will also prepare to give birth to Christ in our own lives:  “How silently, how silently / The wondrous gift is given! / So God imparts to human hearts / The blessings of His heaven. / No ear may hear His coming, / But in this world of sin, / Where meek souls will receive him still, / The dear Christ enters in.” (“O Little Town of Bethlehem”)

Take a quiet moment, or a few. Once a day, at least. Do not try to figure it out. Just sing, pray, and take in the story.  And let it take you in.  Where meek souls will receive him still, the dear Christ enters in.

Merry Christmas,

Michael

 

Save the Dates (and note the differences):

Sat., Dec. 2, 4:00 pm – First “Sunday” Worship of Advent & Advent Dinner – We move our Sunday service to Saturday afternoon for two reasons.  First, we can transition right into the Advent Dinner. Second, it allows our congregation to participate in the Hot Chocolate Run.

Sun., Dec. 24, 7:00 pm – Christmas Eve – This will be the only worship service on this Sunday.

Sat., Dec. 30, 4:00 pm – Our sanctuary becomes a venue for First Night on Sunday, Dec. 31, and technicians need time to set up equipment, so we will worship at 4:00 pm the day before.

Read the whole newsletter here.