Hope of the World

Have you felt it, too, that rapid, sometimes painful limping toward this day?

It’s Christmas Eve. In my world that means Christmas has arrived.

Traditionally, today we rest and enjoy togetherness. We make pine cone-peanut butter-birdseed ornaments; we take them to the local reservoir, where we walk the dogs, the kids, ourselves, for an hour, making our way round to the tree where the locals leave ornaments. We’ve taken this walk every NorCal year except one, when the rain prohibited a long walk with littles.

Then we lunch, or really, snack, while we make dinner for this evening and prep ingredients for tomorrow’s meal.

We will clean up and dress up, put the presents under the tree, and make our way to church to solidly put our focus on the One who is the Hope of the world. We will embrace friends and extend good wishes and revel in gratitude for this good life God has given. We will pray for those who hurt, who are cold or lonely, who need an infusion of the hope only He can provide.

We will have dinner together, a simple meal of soup and salad, before the kids get two presents. Two, because one present is always cozy Christmas pj’s they will wear tonight and wake up wearing tomorrow. Tomorrow I will take pictures of kids in Christmas pj’s, holding their Christmas stockings under the Christmas tree. It’s a tradition.

The Pastor will return to church for the later services as the kids go to bed. I will enjoy my hours of elf-dom, listening to Christmas carols (quietly singing along, of course), making gingerbread cake for breakfast, and stuffing stockings, with breaks to snuggle the cats who will sleep by the fire. I will leave a sign for the kids:

“Christmas morning will NOT begin until:
7:30am and coffee is made.”

And yes, this year I will anticipate that they will be up and make the coffee before 7:30am in order to wake us the moment the clock strikes…

This year, however, this day will not be as restful. Presents aren’t wrapped. Grocery shopping fell to the wayside of other activity. And how did this happen? We ran out of Christmas cards! We still have too many of last year’s cards, but no, I will not mail out last year’s card a second time (I did think about it. Would anyone notice? Oh, well, maybe they’d notice the gold embossed “2013”).

It’s not how I like to do this day, but things haven’t gone according to plan. Teen, who woke at 5am and rode his bike across town to go fishing, just wished us a “Merry Christmas!” He is happy, and that’s something.

Emmanuel, God with us, comes to make His home with us in this sometimes chaotic life. He will be our light, our joy, our hope, today and forever. Merry Christmas!

Read Scripture: John 1:1-14

Candle lighting: Light all the candles.

Read: Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The first candle represents the hope of Israel. The second candle represents the hope of heaven. The third candle represents the hope of His coming. The fourth candle represents the hope of salvation. The center candle represents the hope of the world, God’s gift of His Son, Jesus Christ.

Jesus, the Word of God and the light of the world, was with God in the beginning. Through Him, God created everything we see and experience. True life, true light that stamps out the darkness, is found only in Him. God sent His one and only Son to us, for our salvation, to be the hope of the world. Jesus our Savior made His home among us so that we can be at home with Him forever.

Pray: Dear God, thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus Christ. Open our eyes to see His light. Open our hearts to receive Him. In the name of Jesus we hope and pray, Amen.

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