Tuesday, December 7, 2010

A Life Giving Christmas

A crowd of restless children lined up inside the shopping mall for their annual photo opportunity with Santa Claus. Oddly, a self-conscious 30 year-old woman (without any kids in tow) joined the others in line to sit on Santa’s lap. Now, we all know that Santa doesn't usually take requests from adults, but after waiting in line with children for 20 minutes, Santa didn’t turn her down. She cautiously approached him and asked,
“I know that this is unusual Santa.. but may I give you my Christmas Wish List?”
“Well, sure. Have a seat and tell me what you want for Christmas,” replied Santa. “There is just one thing on my list…Something for my mother,” said the woman sweetly. “Well, that's very loving and thoughtful of you,” smiled Santa,“What do would you like me to bring her?” Without missing a beat she answered quickly, “A son-in-law.”
If only it was that simple, right? Relationships, harmony, peace in our homes and our world – these can’t be bought in a shopping mall.
Last Sunday, everyone at church was invited to answer the question, “What is your deepest hope this Christmas?” Instead of crafting a Christmas Wish List of things that can be bought, we began a church-wide “Hope List” of the deepest longings of our soul.
The Hope List is our first step toward a life-giving Christmas. The Hope List will become our prayer list over these weeks leading up to Christmas. Keeping hope before us stands in contrast to the culture that identifies wishes and wants as the source of a merry holiday. To keep hope before us is how we will focus on Christ this Christmas. Several volunteers will take your individual hopes and turn them into Christmas Ornaments which will decorate the tree in our sanctuary.
Consider the hope of your neighbor. Hold them in prayer. To know each other’s hopes and to support one another in prayer is the first step toward preparing for Christ, rather than just getting ready for a holiday. For these weeks of Advent, let’s keep Hope alive. The full list will be available to each of you – I hope you will incorporate these prayers into your spiritual discipline of daily prayer this Advent season..

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