Sunday, December 26, 2010
A Christmas Prayer
As I attended the Christmas Eve Communion Service at First Church, Albany, it was hard not to reflect on the difference a year can make. For the first time in what seemed like a lifetime, I was not preaching a Christmas Eve sermon and serving a church family the holy sacrament. Instead I was kneeling on the outside of the rail with my wife, Lynn, on one side and my oldest grandson, Will, on the other. With hands outstretched and open, I waited for the robed one to place the sacrament in my hand. When it was all done, I listened to the table dismissal which called upon the God who never changes to be a Helper to those whose lives were filled with much transition and change. As I heard the prayer, my own heart was warmed and stirred.
Over the years there have been many times when a departing passer by at the door told me, "Preacher, what you said was just for me." It always pleased me to hear such words, but I also always knew that if it happened that way, it was more about God than the preacher. On Christmas Eve such a moment came again, but this time I would have been the one speaking them had I had the opportunity at the door.
It should not have been a surprise to experience God at work on Christmas Eve for it was the holy moment of celebrating that God is with us. Understanding it is impossible. It is as mind boggling as the theology of the Trinity. What we know, we know more by faith than anything else. Through Jesus being on earth, it has been clearly made known that God is with us. His physical sojourn on earth was brief, but now we know we are not alone. No matter where we are and regardless of the changes, God is with us. Always.