Week of Love
We give thanks for the perfect love of your Son, so that we may, with grateful hearts, love one another. Amen
Weekly Advent Prayers by Betty Claire Jackson
By Garrett Vickrey
This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life.
Christmas is God’s ultimate amen.
In a world of ‘no’…
No room in the Inn.
No hope for the poor.
No food for the hungry.
No sleep for the anxious.
No peace among nations.
God says, ‘Yes.’
Not everyone heard it at first. Perhaps, it was a whisper only Mary grasped. On the way to Bethlehem, Joseph must have come to hear it too. Shepherds and wisemen heard the echo of amen.
Can you hear it today?
God’s amen resounds in the words of messengers and signs of earth. In song. In light. In kindness. God’s yes resounds.
In Jesus, God says, ‘Yes!’ To a world too busy to turn aside to notice the message of angels, God says, ‘This is who I am.’ God is with us. In the child born in a war ravaged country, God comes to a people poor in spirit. God comes to us before the dust settles.
By Nikki Finkelstein-Blair
Over the past couple of months our family has been on a roller coaster. As a Navy family, we are relocated every three years; we move to a new city, a new job, a new church, a new life–and for two years we can simply Be There. But at that two-year mark, we have the opportunity to look at the available job openings and to make a request for our next duty station (and city, job, church…. and life). We recently hit that two-year mark of our time in San Antonio, so we excitedly scoured The List of jobs that will be coming available next summer, when it will be time for us to move again.
We painstakingly shaped a Top Six list, taking into consideration every possible aspect of the decision: the best career options for Scott, the best choices for our family, our dream jobs and dream locations. We submitted our list, and then waited.
And when the Navy finally came back to us to offer us—we knew—one of those six best-possible-options…. they offered us exactly NONE of them. And of the three choices they gave us, two of them were located in a place we have never wanted to live, and the third didn’t hold any particular interest or promise.
Our immediate reaction was anger. Questioning. A sense of waste for all the time we’d put into our requests. Our instinct was to argue, to complain, to make a whole new list and ask for new options.
But over the course of a few days, I believe God spoke. He spoke through a couple of internet blogs I occasionally read. He spoke through friends we consulted. He even (I believe this!) spoke through a fortune cookie. And this is the message I heard, again and again: “What if you say YES?”
What if you say YES; a big, loud yes? Not just a “Well, okay, if you say so” yes, not just an “I guess I don’t really have a choice” yes, not just a brooding submission of a yes… but a yes full of hope, a yes of anticipation, a yes that says “I’m all in!”
“Yes” doesn’t dispel fear. “Yes” doesn’t mean everything’s going to be easy or rosy. But when we say “yes” we’re affirming that our anxieties aren’t going to rule us. With “yes” we confess our trust in the God who can convert our greatest fears into powerful expressions of faith. With “yes” we proclaim that our frightened, human, instinctive “no ways” can be transformed by the One who is the Way, and that along that Way we, too, are willing to be transformed.