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Living the Lectionary

A starting point from week to week in my Journey from A-C

Month

December 2014

May it be to me as you have said

For a lot of people Christmas is full of worry fear and dread.  We worry about those travelling (especially in snowy regions), health, money, family harmony, time…the list can go on and on.

I’ll admit right here and now, that I am a bit uptight, but I am slowly learning that I have to loosen up and just trust.

The perfect reminder came for me this last Sunday.

I am not actually using the lectionary readings over advent, but instead am doing a series.  So this week’s reading actually came last week for our congregation.  An added bonus for me was that we had a guest speaker.  She focused on the fact that we often want a very pretty Christmas and we want things to go just so but the reality is we’re not going to have a perfect Christmas, life is pretty messy, it’s ok though because Christ stepped down into the mess of our lives and makes it right.

I can’t summarize in full her words, but they were powerful.

The thing is that for me, it took all day for them to sink in.  That evening we had our memorial service and tree lighting.  I was much more prepared for the service this year than I have been in the past, yet right before the service every last thing started to go wrong. I was delayed starting the service, and then when I went up on the platform to start I could not find my Bible even though I had just had it in my hand.  I looked all over, and had to run over to the house to get it (there is benefit to living on the church parking lot). Then I got up and had no order of service, we were already 15 minutes late starting at this time.  Needless to say I was very flustered for the first part of the service and it took me a few minutes to regain my composure.

The service was short, it is meant to be, and we had our tree lighting.  Following the tree lighting we were supposed to go carolling around the community, but it was raining so we couldn’t.  Instead, we decided to go back inside and just sing some carols and favourite songs for a little while.  Completely unplanned on the fly.  Let me tell you it was one of the best services I have ever attended.  It was then that the message from the morning hit home for me, everything did not have to be perfect.

So in many ways when I read Luke 1:26-38, Mary reminds me of myself. She is perplexed at the appearance of the angel. When he makes his announcement, Mary wonders how it can be possible. It takes a moment for it to sink in and some convincing that this is of God.

In the end though, Mary speaks in faith and says “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” or as we so often read it, “may it be to me as you have said”.

Even though the circumstances seem unimaginable, and far from perfect, faith and obedience are still realistic.  Trusting that even though we may not fully grasp where life is headed that God will work it out. As a wise woman recently said something like this to me, “faith is not faith in the good and perfect times, but instead it is in the mess of life where true faith is defined.”

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On Car Accidents and Comfort.

In my early 20’s I had a pretty serious car accident that was my fault.  In down town Winnipeg there are street lights on every corner.  You have to pay special attention when travelling down town because you might go through one light that is green and the next one could be red and you have very little time to respond.

One night I was dropping some friends off late at night, after a church hockey game and as I was going back to my parents’ house in their van which they had let me use and for a second my attention was distracted. It was icy and I ran a red light, and despite my best efforts there was a collision.  There were three cars involved, and after the impact and the car finally came to a stop I just sat there in disbelief and shook.

Thankfully no one was hurt, we all walked away that night, but there was a great amount of damage done to the cars.  I totalled one of the other cars, and my parents van. The police came and I told them what happened, and they phone my folks to come pick me up, only it was after midnight and there was no answer, so I got a ride home in the police car.

It seemed like the longest drive back to the house and I was nervous about waking my parents to tell them that they no longer had a vehicle. I figured I would be in trouble, my parents were forever warning me to be careful on the roads.  I was expecting at least a reprimand.

The reprimand never came though, my parents knew that this was not a time for me to be punished.  They were just glad I was ok and did what they could to bring me comfort and calm. Imagine if I had spent the whole way home preparing for the comfort I would receive from my parents.

Israel had done wrong, and they had faced their punishment, but in Isaiah chapter 40 it is not time for punishment.  The price for Israel’s sin has been paid for, double actually.  It is a time for comfort.

The prophet instructs the people to prepare for the coming comfort, he tells them to make straight the highway in the desert.  The glory of the Lord is going to be revealed.  They are also instructed to trust in the Lord, because even though the grass withers and flowers fade the word of the Lord (Christ), stands forever.  In him we can put our trust, he will bring comfort in dark times.

Advent is a season of waiting, but it is not an idle wait; instead we prepare for the coming of our Lord.  We prepare our hearts to receive him.  He the everlasting God is coming, he is on the way and will restore all things to himself.  If that’s not a message of comfort, then I don’t know what is.

 

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