Still, Still, Still


First Focus

Still, Still, Still

How do you retell the story of Christmas? You can reenact the parts or update the story for a new generation. This past weekend, we’ve done both. Rhonda Smith and our children’s ministry created “Breakfast in Bethlehem,” an annual tradition for families to eat, play, and dress up as the characters in Matthew and Luke. On Sunday night, Penny Folsom, Sanctuary Choir, orchestra, and drama team thrilled our hearts with a musical version of Henry Van Dyke’s classic, “The Other Wise Man.” I’m so proud of our church for the many and various ways we’ve become the “next generation”
to tell the world that God is with us. Thank you for your hospitality, welcoming spirit, and service.

Now our attention turns to toward the darkest of nights, when as Shakespeare said, “the bird of dawning singeth all night long, so hallowed and gracious is the time.” The parties come to an end, the lists are complete, family travel plans are made, you’ve cheered your favorite team all the way to the end. The only thing left for you to think about is you. You’ve given of yourself to everyone else; you’ve tried to find the perfect gifts and send the best Christmas cards to everyone else. So before the turkey and dressing go into the oven one more time, take time this week to receive what God has to offer you.

It seems rather selfish. “It’s better to give rather than to receive,” so the saying goes. In order to give, however, we must learn to receive what God has for us. That’s the real lesson of Joseph’s struggle. In the darkest of nights, he and Mary struggle to face the realities of obedience. There were no parties or musicals that first Christmas, just the song of angels on the hillside getting the attention of lonely shepherds. They made it possible for us to do what we’ve been doing all month.

God’s been working awfully hard to get our attention this year. Through our distractions, plans, despair, busyness, successes, and difficulties of our lives, he’s gone back to the same methods he used 2,000 years ago. Once again he’s spoken through a star appearing, angels singing, the scriptures being fulfilled, a virgin mother expecting, and a baby being born. Now in the stillness of this week, listen to what he has to say. Once again, you’ll hear the sound of Christmas.