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Simeon’s Song: Worth the Wait

(a sermon for December 30, 2018, the 1st Sunday after Christmas; last in a series, based on  Luke 2:22-40)

Sometimes the only thing you can do is sing.

An old friend of mine from my seminary days, a bright and bubbly older lady who went by the name of “Mickey,” used to tell the story of how one snowy winter morning in Maine she’d decided to go cross-country skiing along a beautiful wooded trail that she knew, one that stretched far from any nearby roads, houses or people. The idea, she said, was for some spiritual solitude, but as fate would have it somewhere deep in the woods Mickey fell off her skis and managed to fracture her ankle; so now not only was she injured and unable to make her way home, but also, ironically enough, she was totally alone!

Now, given that this was a time long before cel phones and with no other way of calling out for help out there deep in the Maine woods, most people might have panicked under those circumstances; but not Mickey!  Surely, she reasoned, on this beautiful snowy morning someone else would be out skiing or snowshoeing and happen by, so she’d simply wait there in the snow until someone came by who could help her!  And that’s what she did; however, as the hours began to pass and the snow accumulated all around her Mickey started to wonder, however fleetingly, when or if help would ever come!

So she started to sing.

Actually, she started by reciting psalms and other passages of scripture she’d known from childhood (“I lift up my eyes to the hills – from where will my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” [Psalm 121:1-2] Actually kind of fitting when you think about it, she said afterward) And then, it was Christmas songs, followed by verses from all the old hymns and snippets from choir anthems that she’d sung at one time or another and had always remembered. And as that long day went on Mickey just kept on singing, singing everything and anything she knew how to sing and even a few songs she didn’t!  She sang through her pain and she sang through her fear, and she even sang a bit through her doubt, but above all Mickey sang out of a faith-borne assuredness that the Lord was with her and that she would be alright!  And when eventually, just as darkness had begun to descend, another pair of skiers did happen by so to bring her to safety, they asked how she was doing and Mickey simply smiled and replied in very typical Mickey fashion, “Oh, I’m fine… I hadn’t run out of songs yet!”

Sometimes, you see, the only thing you can do is sing… but when singing is an act of faith, that may well be enough!

In our text for this morning, Luke’s gospel tells us that at the time of Jesus’ birth there was “a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon,” and Luke makes a point of letting us know that this Simeon was a good man, “righteous and devout,” and as The Message puts it, living “in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel,” that is, waiting for the coming of the Lord’s Messiah.  We’re also supposed to surmise from this passage that Simeon was quite old and that he had been, in fact, waiting just about all his life for this singular event to take place; but, you see, that was alright. For as Luke tells the story, “the Holy Spirit rested” on Simeon and that same Spirit had “shown him that he would see this Messiah of God before he died.”  That’s it… no angel making an “annunciation,” as what was given unto Mary, nor even any heavenly rebuke as what happened to old Zechariah back at the temple; and as for that “heavenly host” that they’d heard about from a bunch of random shepherds?  There was certainly none of that for Simeon; no miracles or signs or wonder, just simply and profoundly this continued assurance from a truly Holy Spirit that this thing was going to happen, it would happen in Simeon’s lifetime… and it was definitely going to be worth the wait.  So keep the faith, Simeon… keep on singing and just wait for it.

So now it’s about 40 days after the child was born in the manger of Bethlehem; which means that Jesus was around a month and a half old and the time had come both for “their purification” (which actually had more to do with Mary than with Jesus, as it was required by every Jewish woman after childbirth) and for Mary and Joseph to come to the Temple and offer up a sacrifice (which because of their poverty, amounted to “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons”), so to consecrate their child to the Lord.  Understand this was a sacred ritual, a duty required and performed by all faithful Jews; and so you have to imagine, as David Lose puts it, that Mary and Joseph “must have been in a reverent, even solemn mood that day, the way many young parents in our congregations are when their first child is to baptized.”  So also imagine, then, how started, even frightened Mary and Joseph might have been when in the midst of this quiet procession into the holy courts of the Temple, here comes “Simeon, old beyond years and beaming with ecstatic revelation, coming up to them to touch the child,” and then, as if that weren’t enough, he starts singing!

You see, on that day of days Simeon was guided by the Holy Spirit to go – go now (!) – to the Temple because there at long last he would see the Messiah, the fulfillment of the Holy Spirit’s promise and the consolation of Israel.  And so, make no mistake, there’s absolutely no reluctance, hesitation or even any kind of appropriateness here on Simeon’s part; I mean, you don’t just run up to new parents and just pick up their baby, but here’s old Simeon fairly well running into the Temple and scooping up the baby Jesus away from Mary and Joseph, all so he can hold this child in his arms; and once Simeon’s seen that angelic little face, once he’s touched his little fingers, maybe counted his toes and then marveled how something so tiny and so delicate can be so… divine, that’s when Simeon’s song begins, a song of praise and thanksgiving for this child who was and is “a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.”

In Latin, it’s referred to as the Nunc Dimittis, which means “now send away,” and it’s actually used today both during services of holy communion and as a funeral liturgy, for not only is this song this incredible proclamation of God’s salvation prepared for all people, it’s also Simeon’s joyous affirmation that now that the Spirit’s lifelong assurances of a Messiah had come to fruition Simeon himself could die in peace.  In other words, my waiting is over, your work is done, so as in the elegant words of the old King James Version of scripture, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:  For mine eyes have seen thy salvation.”

There are some, you know, who tend to read the words of Simeon’s song as something rather morbid; I mean, why would he even want to talk about death and dying at a time like this, when the light and life of Christmas, to borrow a line from Jean Shepherd here, is at its zenith and all is right with the world?  But you see, Simeon knew that everything in his life had led up to this particular moment of this particular day, and that now that he’d literally seen and held God’s promise in his hands, “after touching and feeling the promise of life which God had granted to him through Christ…” (David Lose, again) then he could accept death “courageously and confidently in the light of God’s promised salvation.”  He could let go now, because the promise had been fulfilled and it had most definitely been worth the wait.

Of course, it needs to be said there that Simeon’s song wasn’t entirely one of joy and praise.  After he’d blessed this child and his parents, Simeon then looked to Mary, and as though to perhaps warn her of what was to come (?), he sings a second verse of his song, of how this child was to “be a sign that will be opposed,” – a “figure misunderstood and contradicted” – “so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed.”  And, oh yes, Mary, by the way?  “A sword will pierce your own soul, too.”

It turns out, you see, that there will be more to this story than merely a tale of angels and shepherds and Magi from the Far East bring gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.  This child, this baby whose is named Jesus, Emmanuel, Messiah, Christ the Lord… his story will continue; beginning with a baptism of repentance in the River Jordan through great acts of healing, miraculous signs, teachings that change lives and the world, and at the last a triumphal entry into Jerusalem that leads inescapably to the cross.

Even after the shepherds have gone back to their flock; even once the star overhead has faded to blend in with the rest of the night sky and the Magi have opted to go home another way; even after Mary and Joseph settle in to the business of raising an infant even as they’ve had to flee to Egypt as refugees, the story goes on. The baby Jesus, you see, grows up… and his journey, as well as ours, is just beginning.

You know, it’s always struck me as a bit odd that we inevitably end up viewing Christmas as an ending rather than really what it should be, a new beginning.  I realize that this comes in large part because since before Halloween (!) this world has been wholly focused on the run-up to everything surrounding the Christmas holiday, and so once December 26 comes along even the most ardent of Christmas elves are apt to breathe a sigh of relief!   And even here in the church, for over four weeks we’ve devoted ourselves to Advent waiting and watching for the coming of Christ; and so yes, I have to confess that there’s a palpable sense of conclusion in our finally arriving at the manger.  In other words, we’ve come to worship, we’ve sung all our songs and now it’s time, like the shepherds and wise men before us, to return to life and the world and business as usual.

But I ask you, is that actually the case? Is Christmas truly over?   Have we really run out of songs to sing?

Not yet.

Because despite whatever closure we have by our taking down decorations or switching to music other than the holiday variety (!), the fact our journey to Christmas has not so much ended as it is just beginning!

You might have noticed that our text this morning contains a bit of an epilogue to this story of Jesus’ presentation at the Temple and Simeon’s song of praise and glory.  It seems that there in the Temple was also “a prophet, Anna the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher.” Anna was an 84-year-old widow, and in fact pretty much lived at the temple, “worshipping night and day with her fastings and prayers,” [The Message] and we’re told that at the very same moment Simeon was offering up his tribute, Anna also showed up and “broke into an anthem” of her own, one of “praise to God,” and one that was apparently reprised again and again as she began “to speak about the child to all who were look for the redemption of Jerusalem.”

That’s the key, you know… that’s how Christmas becomes for us the starting place of our journey rather than its conclusion.  It’s in our proclaiming the good news of his coming; it’s about telling the story of his holy birth, yes, but it’s also continuing to tell of his presence and ministry among us and of the price he paid for our redemption before God.  It’s in the work of Christmas that we are called to do: in those powerful words of poet Howard Thurman:

“To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among others,
To make music in the heart.”

Yes, to “make music in the heart!”  Christmas is always about singing out our praises unto the Lord each and every day that we live and breathe; it’s about singing through our pain, and singing through our fear, and even at times singing through our doubt; but it’s ever and always singing out of that faith-borne and faith-full assuredness that the Lord is with us and that we will be alright!

Christmas is not over, beloved; in fact, it’s just getting started!

So let that journey of prayer and praising and service begin with us here and now… and let’s keep singing, because there are plenty of songs yet to sing!

Thanks be to God!

Amen and AMEN!

c. 2018  Rev. Michael W. Lowry

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Posted by on December 30, 2018 in Christmas, Jesus, Maine, Music, Sermon, Sermon Series, Worship

 

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The Song That Never Ends

(A Meditation for Christmas Eve 2018, based on Luke 2:8-20)

It is most decidedly not a Christmas song; and in fact, I’d suspect that the only way you might even know it is if you had little children in your life round about the early 1990’s.  As performed by puppeteer Shari Lewis and “Lamb Chop,” it went a little something like this:

“This is the song that never ends,
Yes, it goes on and on my friend.
Some people started singing it,
Not knowing what it was,
And they’ll continue singing it forever just because…
This is the song that never ends….”

You get the idea; this truly is a song that once begun, goes on and on and on… suffice to say it’s a melody tailor-made for long car rides and antsy kids (if not for the parents or grandparents on board who are at the end of their last frayed nerve!).  Indeed, it’s one of those songs that’s silly and fun and all manner of irritating, all at the same time!  And the truth of it is, and here’s the reason I risked putting that tune into your heads tonight, this is pretty much how some people feel about Christmas music!  Even I must confess that as much as I absolutely love the music of this season, nonetheless there are some songs in the holiday canon that just seem to be played on an endless loop! I mean, especially given all the discussion this year, how many versions of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” or “Santa Baby” can there actually be?  It’s no wonder that there are those out there who are very ready to be done with these songs for another year (not me, not yet…. I’m just sayin’!).

As much as I hate to admit it, I’m aware that even some of the sacred carols of Christmas – the beautiful songs that we’re singing here tonight – sometimes risk having that same effect on people; but I dare say for a different reason than sheer repetition.  After all, Christmas carols by their very nature are non-traditional and even a bit irregular, both musically and lyrically.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that (!); as the late Halford Luccock once put it, some of the best hymns are the ones that are labeled “irregular,” especially at Christmas.  “Irregular?” he wrote.  “I should say so! The whole thing was highly irregular!  A baby in a barn.  What could be more irregular than that?  Shockingly irregular!”  But then again, that’s the way of God, isn’t it; if there’s no room in inn, “God will find a barn or other place in which God’s new word can be born.”

The truth is, friends, is that ours is an irregular God who is utterly determined to come to us and abide with us, even in the guise of a tiny, helpless infant born in a stable surrounded by farm animals; and that is the reason that we sing… again and again, and on and on!

In our worship yesterday we talked a little bit about the angels’ glorious song of peace and joy on that first Christmas night, and also about the shepherds “living out in the fields” who were the ones blessed to hear it.  It was, in the words of the old hymn, “music of the spheres,” a heavenly song sung by a heavenly host, a song as bright and as bold as the star that shone overhead.  It was truly “good news of great joy for all the people… a Savior, who is the Messiah the Lord,” and it was, to say the very least, a singular, revelatory moment for the shepherds just as it was for all of creation; it was in every describable way, a song for the ages.

That said, however, I wonder how it was for those shepherds “after the angels had left them and gone into heaven,” and after the song was done and all that was left was the enveloping quiet of that holy night, a calm only broken by the occasional bleat of the sheep who’d been sleeping nearby.  We know, of course, that their first instinct was to go immediately to Bethlehem to “see this thing that has taken place,” but what I want to know is if as the shepherds went “with haste,” as Luke puts it, were they singing?   That incredible song just sung by a literal choir of angels; was that still going round and round in their heads?  Was the song on their lips, were they trying to emulate the melodies and harmonies as they rushed into town, or could they have been simply whistling as they went?

Well, Luke doesn’t say exactly; we’re only told that just as they’d been told they could, the shepherds did find the manger and Mary, Joseph and the child within, and that when they did see this new, holy family, the shepherds were compelled to tell Mary and Joseph about everything that they’d seen and heard earlier that night.  And don’t know about you, beloved, but I have to believe that as they did, those shepherds sang!  And you know they sang with joy, they sang with enthusiasm, they sang loudly and maybe even a bit off key (!); the kind singing you do when you’re so filled up that you don’t even care how it sounds to those around you!

And the thing was, those shepherds were just getting started!  Even as they left the manger, even as they knew they needed to get back to the fields and the business of tending the sheep, all the while they were “glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.”  And why not? The child was born, the Messiah had come and now the world and their very lives had changed forever!  This song, the song the angels sang, the song that was forever on their lips and in their hearts, this song of God’s redeeming love in Jesus who is called Emmanuel… this was, and is, the song that never ends!

And even now, over 2,000 years later, we still sing – again and again, and on and on – in joyful praising of the God who loves us so much that he will not rest until each and all of us have been embraced and so caught up in his tremendous and infinite love that we have no other choice than to sing!

Beloved, if I have but one prayer for you on this holy night, it would be that you’re singing; really singing, not just tonight in the beauty of candlelight and in the fellowship of kindred hearts together on Christmas Eve, but always… after Christmas Day, into the new year and beyond… that you will be so moved by the gift of this holy child and in him the presence of the living God that you will be singing with joy and faith and purpose that divine song of peace and love that never, ever ends.

The late Ann Weems once asked if “there are still those who long to hear an angel’s song and touch a star?  To kneel beside some other shepherd in the hope of catching a glimpse of eternity in a baby’s smile?  Are there still those who sing ‘Peace on earth, goodwill to all’? If there are,” Weems prayed, “then O Lord, keep ablaze their flickering candle in the darkness of this world!”

Well, here on Mountain Road in Concord, the candles are flickering and the light of the Christ Candle is about to be shared among us in this beautiful and sacred space, cutting through the darkness of this night and of the world that surrounds us.  May this light truly fill us with all HOPE in believing; may it awaken us to the PEACE that only Christ can bring; may it fill us with JOY and make us aware of divine and infinite LOVE…

…and may it inspire us, today and always, to SING!

Merry Christmas, my dear friends, thanks be God, and

AMEN!

c. 2018  Rev. Michael W. Lowry

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2018 in Christmas, Jesus, Joy, Music, Sermon, Sermon Series

 

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The Angels’ Song: Peace That Passes Understanding

(a sermon for December 23, 2018, the 4th Sunday of Advent; third in a series, based on Luke 2:8-15)

“Gloria in Excelsis Deo!”  from the Latin, which means “Glory to God in the Highest… and on earth, peace!”

A wonderful, beautiful and utterly joyous proclamation of the heavenly host:  but there’s a question that springs to mind every year as I hear those words and revisit this wonderful story of Christ’s nativity: what does “a multitude of the heavenly host” even sound like?

I mean, the songs and carols of this season do offer up plenty of descriptions: “Hark! the herald angels sing,” “Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation,” or, as we’ll sing in just a little bit, “Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o’er the plains,” all of which suggests joyous singing in perfect four-part (or maybe even eight-part!) harmony!  But would these heavenly songs have sounded like something akin to Handel’s Messiah, or else a Gregorian chant or more likely, given the time and its people, the reprise of an ancient song of God’s people Israel?  And was there an instrumental accompaniment courtesy of “angels bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold,” or were there an infinite line of trumpets, “the timbrel and pipe… [and] the clash of cymbals,” (Psalm 150:4-5) piercing the silence of that holy night so to boldly proclaim the holy birth? Or maybe it’s like movie music, starting small and then growing in a crescendo to a triumphant finish!  But then again, as some biblical scholars have suggested, this particular song might have been less sung than spoken, however giving glory to God in a tone that was most assuredly “joyful and triumphant;” though I must confess this description doesn’t do much for my imagination!

Or maybe this angels’ song was something more than mere earthly music; something ethereal and unlike anything ever heard before since before the time of creation.

I remember once many, many years ago as a young man spending a cold and silent morning late in November deep in the northern Maine woods, miles away from anywhere, sitting along on a log and furtively waiting and watching for a white-tailed deer to happen by (which of course, rarely if ever did happen, but which ended up providing me an extended time for prayer and reflection, the perfect training for a beginning pastor!).  As often is the case in that part of the world, there was already a fair amount of snow on the ground and as I recall, more was beginning to fall; moreover, a breeze had started to blow – gently, at first, but then more intently – and already there was ice and snow coming loose from tree branches above and all around me; and that was just the beginning!

Even now what I remember is how quickly and fully everything all around me changed:  one moment it’s dead quiet in the woods, the next I’m surrounded by a literal symphony of nature’s sound.  Suddenly I’m hearing the wind roar from off the ridge to the south; from every direction twigs are snapping as piles of snow come crashing to the ground; off in the distance I hear squirrels, field mice and the occasional crow making noise like crazy and even within myself, there’s the sound of a beating heart that’s been totally startled out of complacency!  What a moment; my senses were wholly awakened to everything that was happening around me, and though thinking back on it, it probably only lasted for a moment or two before that gust of wind had died down, to me it felt like this time of utter revelation would go on forever.  I can tell you without fear of exaggeration that it was for me a spiritual experience; and in fact, even now the best way I can describe it to you is in the words of another hymn:  “This is my Father’s world, and to my listening ears, all natures sings and round me rings the music of the spheres.”

The music of the spheres!  If you ask me, friends, however else we might imagine it, that’s what the song of the Angels must have sounded like to those shepherds “keeping watch over their flock” on that first Christmas night.

One thing we need to remember about this “first song of Christmas” is that it began neither softly nor gently but in fact burst forth into that silent night as brightly as the star that shone overhead. This song that the shepherds heard that night was no mere background music, friends, no “soundtrack” of Christmas; this was a song as bold and as disruptive as God’s love crashing into the reality of our world with all of its hopes and fears. It is a song of unending HOPE, made real in the birth of a child of PEACE who is the very embodiment of divine LOVE so that all creation might sing with JOY; and so it’s no wonder that it took a heavenly host to do it justice!  Actually, you know, the Greek that’s used here for “host” is stratia, a word that can actually be translated as “an army or company of soldiers,” so what we have here is a literal army of angels breaking forth into song and making an unprecedented announcement about the fulfillment of prophecy and of God’s presence with us in the guise of a child “wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger;” a child who by his very birth brings forth peace on earth and goodwill amongst all those whom God favors!  And let me tell you, friends; however that song was sung, whatever the melody and harmony, no matter the rhythm, rhyme or instrumentation, it was… magnificent!

And the best part of all?  The best part is that ones who got to hear it, the ones who had the experience of this “symphony of the spheres,” were the ones who needed to hear it the most.

For remember now, the angels’ song – at least as initially sung – was not sung for the church; that is, for those who were the “righteous uprights” in the temple waiting for a Messiah to come with military might.  Nor was it shared with the rich and the privileged, neither with emperors or governments or those otherwise ensconced in places of power, political and otherwise.  When the heavenly host burst forth with their chorus of “Glory to God in the highest,” their audience was simply that small and rather motley assortment of shepherds living in the fields, a group who, in the words of John Philip Newell, could be best described as “unlettered, unwashed herders of livestock existing at the margins, far from the power-centers of respectability and prestige.”

These days we tend to romanticize the shepherds and their part in the Christmas story, but the truth is that in Jesus’ time, shepherding was a profession at the very bottom of any kind of social ladder.  Basically, if you were a shepherd it was generally assumed you couldn’t find any other kind of decent work, you were almost always branded as some kind of liar, thief or worse, and as far as religion goes you were considered to be ritually unclean so you were pretty much always thought of as a sinner by virtue of your profession.  So understand that there were no shepherds of that time who would have considered themselves to be in way significant, much less worthy of a heavenly proclamation; and yet, it’s the shepherds who in the midst of their deep darkness who hear the angels’ mighty song of glory.

But then, God’s “message of hope [always] emerges among the least significant,” even shepherds… oh, and by the way, also even you and me!

Craig Satterlee, of Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago, has written that there is more to God sending angels to shepherds than reaching out to outsiders.  “Spend enough time in the field,” he writes, “shunned by decent and religious folk, disappointed by God, or overwhelmed by grief, and we stop caring that we are outsiders.  We give up trying to get inside religion, or even on God, to get on with life.  But,” Satterlee goes on to say, “God does not give up on us.  God sends angels to people who have given up on God.”  And while we might react the way those shepherds did at first – that is, with abject fear, and likely startled with an inch of our very lives (!) – it soon becomes very clear that “God comes in a way that is far from frightening.  Jesus comes [to us] vulnerably, helplessly,” as a baby born in a manger; bringing peace that passes understanding as he dwells among the lowly, the poor, and those who have felt on the outside so long that they’ve given up on God… even you and me.

Right now there are those who are living out in the fields of their own lives, lost and wholly abandoned by the world that surrounds them: people who feeling overwhelmed by grief and sadness; people caught up in spirals of life’s struggle and hardship; people weighed down by illness or poverty or brokenness or the sting of someone else’s hatred; people who can’t begin to celebrate this season because they can’t begin to feel any sense of God’s presence and love; people who in the midst of deep darkness and utter silence have given up on God.  But the good news is that God has not given up on them, nor on any one of us: for even now God is sending angels out into the fields with good news of great joy to all the people, singing a glorious song of that peace that passes our human understanding and transcends the powers and principalities of the world as we know it!  Jesus Christ, the Messiah, is being born, and that changes everything!  And just as it was for those shepherds who first heard that heavenly song, it’s cause for our great rejoicing as well; ample reason to “run with haste” and see this incredible thing that the Lord has done, to know once and for all that God will not rest until each and all of us have been embraced and caught up in his tremendous and infinite love!  God will not give up; God is with us, now and forever, in Jesus our Emmanuel!

This past week I took a quick overnight trip up north to deliver gifts and visit with my mother; and of course, as always happens this time of year, we spent a fair amount of time reminiscing about Christmases past.  She actually reminded me of how on one snowy Christmas Eve, together with some of our family members on the Lowry side who were celebrating with us that night, we’d walked from our house down the street and around the corner to attend a Christmas Eve service at our church, where my father was already inside playing the organ prelude, including carols from the bell chimes that could be heard coming from the steeple.  It was a picture perfect, Norman Rockwell styled scene, but the best part was that the closer we drew to the church, the more clearly we could hear the plaintive notes of “Silent Night” and so many other sacred songs of the holiest of nights.  It was an incredible blessing, and all it took to receive it was simply to listen.

Well, it’s the day before “the night before” Christmas, and our advent time of waiting and watching is nearly complete.  Tomorrow night we’ll gather in this beautiful sanctuary to sing songs of joy and praise, to light the Christ Candle and to share that light with one another.  But maybe you’re not feeling it quite yet; perhaps the remaining “busy-ness” of the season has you distracted, or maybe it’s seemed like there has been just too much darkness in and around your life that it’s overwhelmed the light.  Maybe you’ve come here today, hoping to feel a bit of peace and love as Christmas draws near… or  perhaps to hear something like a song… an angels’ song.

If that’s the case for you this morning, beloved, then my hope and prayer for you today, tomorrow and truly, in all the days that are yet to come at Christmas and beyond, that you might stop in the midst of all the chaos, the confusion and even the pain… and listen.  Listen for the angels’ song; listen to the music of the spheres that even at this very moment is by God’s grace resonating all around you and deep within your heart!  Listen for God’s enduring gift of love and life in the person of the Jesus, our Emmanuel; and listen for the greatest music that has ever burst forth through creation, proclaimed by that army choir of angels singing:

“Gloria in excelsis Deo!”

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace!”

And thanks be to God!

Amen and AMEN!

c. 2018  Rev. Michael W. Lowry

 

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