Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Joy and the Angels

      Like many of you, the events in Newtown, CT just overwhelmed me. The idea of celebrating Christmas amidst such tragedy seems impossible. Yet, while I had so much to say.. at the same time, felt there was nothing I could say and the blog has been silent.  One thing I wrestled with is the complete lack of joy that will be possible there, while at the same time, being the third week of Advent, we remember the joy. 
      There are tragedies surrounding the birth of Christ, yet we don't focus on them. For one, King Herod had all the male babies age 2 and under killed, just to try to remove the threat he felt from Jesus, who was born King of the Jews. What sorrow. But life does go on, and there is within me a search for normalcy. It will be a long time coming, if it ever arrives, in Newtown, but even they will be going through the motions for the children that survived.


And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men.
                             Luke 2:13-14

On the Third Sunday of Advent,  we light the pink candle, the candle that represents JOY.  Joy is an overwhelming sense of happiness.  One very special example of showing joy is of the angels that proclaimed that Jesus was born.  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men” they said.
Angels are God’s messengers.  They are used throughout the entire Bible to inform people of things.  An angel spoke to Zacharias and Elizabeth when she was to have a child.  An angel also spoke to Mary and Joseph.  They informed them of the upcoming birth and reassured them that it would be all right.
Once Jesus arrived, the angels were sent to tell the shepherds that were in the fields.  What an amazing sight!  No wonder the shepherds were frightened by the bright light at first!  It was certainly not something that had ever happened to them before.
A few years ago, the children and youth did a play called, “The Angel Alert” that presented a light-hearted look at what might have occurred the night Jesus was born.  They were “on alert” so that they would be ready to announce the birth.  They had practice drills and choir practice in order to be ready.
It was a fun play that reminded us of the excitement looking towards that important birth.  More importantly, it reminds us of the need to be ready to do whatever God leads us to do.  Sometimes, maybe it will be something as significant as the angels telling of Christ’s birth.  More often, it may be something much more routine, but still a part of God’s bigger plan.

A prayer for today
 O Lord, I want to be mindful that angels are not the only ones capable of telling of the good news of Jesus’ birth.  Give me the wisdom and courage to approach others, sharing with them the joy that I have found in Jesus Christ.  My heart grieves for those that have lost loved ones,  and for those that have seen things they will never forget.
Remind me, O Lord, that I too, should be ready for you.  Ready to listen to your insight, ready to follow your will, and ready when you return once again.
This is from my Advent 
devotional, As We Wait
a book that shares the 
meanings and stories 
of the Advent season. 

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