How are you doing? Are you happy right now? Stressed? Tired? Are you joyful, or excited? Are you looking forward to all the Christmas visits with family and friends? Christmas is just days away and everything – the pace of days, our spending habits, life’s highs and the lows -- all seem to be ramped up. I must admit, I am looking forward to our Christmas Eve service here at Immanuel. It is the quiet time to slow down, sing our carols, and worship the one who came to walk among us, reconciling and redeeming us from our brokenness. I enjoy Christmas Eve. It is a joyful time. I’m not sure the musicians feel the same way.
Yet, as the days creep closer, there is much troubling news in the world. Just this morning, I heard on the news of the death (likely murder) of the mother in Texas. I read several posts on Facebook from local folks who have lost loved ones, even children, in the last year and how they are feeling this week. The state of our nation gravely troubles me. It seems, everyone has their mind made up, no one wants to listen to another, and all decisions seem to be made with self-interest at heart. It is a troubling time.
So, I will offer two invitations. Please join us on Tuesday evening with your family and friends to enjoy wonderful music and anthems, sing carols and hear the oh so familiar story of Jesus’ birth. Also, if it seems like the right kind of service, join us for the Longest Night Service on Saturday, at 3:00 pm at the Cambridge Hospital Chapel for a quiet service which will , on the longest night of the year, acknowledge the darkness in our lives and world, as well as the light God sent and sends into our lives.
Wherever you are on your journey, I wish a good Christmas. And I will leave you with two resources which may show up in the Longest Night worship on Saturday.
A new song from Carolyn Winfrey Gillette
How Can We Sing a Joyful Song?(MIDI)
O WALY WALY 220.127.116.11 ("Though I May Speak")
How can we sing a joyful song?
O God, our sorrows hem us in.
When pain and grief seem all too strong,
How can we sing a joyful hymn?
The world around finds songs to sing
Of laughter, mirth and happiness,
But these sound false and even sting
When what we feel is deep distress.
And yet, O God, we dare to sing
For in our grief, we're not alone.
You love this world and entered in
By sending us your only Son.
You sent us hope — Emmanuel!
O God-with-us, you bore our pain.
And so we sing, for all is well!
In Christ, we will be whole again.
Biblical References: Psalm 137:1-6; John 3:16; Matthew 1:23
Tune: Traditional English melody ("Though I May Speak") (MIDI)
Text: Copyright © 2009 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved.
Email: email@example.com New Hymns: www.carolynshymns.com/
As we gather this evening, we embrace and claim the darkness that is present both in the world and in our own lives. As people who are familiar with the darkness, we also know that we gather to be illumined by the light of the Christ Child this Christmas season. May the Christ Child, born in a lowly stable, himself an outcast and marginal, bring light, comfort, peace, and joy this holiday season.