I just recieved a greeting yesterday from a couple at Church. There are a few of you who know who this amazingly inspiring couple is. This Christmas Greeting was quite inspiring and encouraging and I had to share it.
Beloved Friends, Near and Far...
Like a silent mist descending upon a valley, the holy season of Advent has settled over our lives once again. As it has throughout the centuries, these blessed weeks of waiting help us focus on the holy birth soon to take place, a gift of time to prepare the manger of our hearts. This year especially, Advent provides our troubled souls a chance to pull away from the ceaseless images of suffereing thrust upon us throughout the past many months, and the vague feelings of apprehension, disquiet, and helplessness that yet remain. Dictionaries of facts and pictures have pummeled our tired ears and eyes; we drop our donations in the offereing plate or mailbox, but still the strange unrest lingers. And around the corners of our minds, unnamed and invisible, creeps a pervasive fear: will it-- can it-- happen to me...to mine?
Why should we not be afraid when gale force windes pick up cars and buildings; city streets turn into navigable rivers; the cost of heating our homes and driving our cars mangles the budget; the earth roars, splits, and tens of thousands perish; and bird flu may be just a flight away? Fear marches in the forefront of our minds; behind it, like ominous shadows, slink its elusive cousins named anxiety and worry. what if the layoffs include me? What if the blood test isn't normal? What if the furnace gives up for good, and a new one wipes out the savings for Sam's braces? What if he, or she, or they...?
"...do not be afraid," the angel commanded Joseph, who being a just and merciful man was unwilling to expose Mary's supposed sin when she was found to be with child. "Do not be afraid," the angel Gabriel reassured Zacharias, after telling him that his years of prayer for a son would be answered. "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God..." the angel said, comforting Mary when she was troubled by his words. Do not be afraid...Do not be afraid! In every possible situation of life, God commands us not to be afraid. Why?
Because when the radiant star appears in the black sky and Christmas dawns at last, a Virgin shall bear a Son who shall be called Immanuel, "God with us." Always, He is with us-quiet, infinitely courteous, patient, listening for our words as a parent bends low to hear the whispers of a small child. He answers the cry of our hearts through the balm of holy Scripture, in the sacred sameness of our daily lives, and always, as we kneel or stand before Him in silent adoration and wordless prayer. He is everywhere, He has spoken, He speaks to each of us this very day, this very moment. Immanuel! God is with us!