The Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring
up.” Every Christmas morning for the past twenty-five years
I have sprung up out of my bed to celebrate with children the
joy and wonder that we call Christmas. Because of them I can see
the magic of how hope changes the ordinary life in our house to
a wonderland of love. Christmas comes like a gift. It sweeps in
during Advent to say simply, “Love is born”; you don’t have to
wait or watch. It has sprung up in the middle of night while you
slept and has brought you good tidings of great joy.

Isaiah accurately reflects that such unbounded joy feels like
“the robe of righteousness” covered with a garland and jewels,
like we are going to a feast. We spend much time in our lives
working hard, discerning the call, standing for justice, and loving
our neighbors. Ah, but every now and then, the waters part
and joy shines out like the dawn. This is that day! This is the
day to see the sunrise as a miracle. This is the day to remember
that in the midst of violence and oppression, life is full of freedom.
This is the day to know that in the midst of hurt and fear,
hope never dies!

I believe Christmas was created to remember that there is a
space for the optimist. A place exists for those who want to live
and work as a witness to the truth that in the end love is the
most powerful force for change in the world. In this way, the
true gift of Christmas comes—where each of us remembers we
are “a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord.”

O God, you have caused this holy night to shine with the brightness of the true Light. Grant that we, who have known the mystery of that Light on earth, may also enjoy him perfectly in heaven; where with you and the Holy Spirit he lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

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Lectionary Week
December 25–31, 2017
Scripture Overview

Ecstasy over the Christmas miracle binds these passages together with unrestrained joy over what God has done and over who God is. The God whom these texts celebrate is a God who reigns in strength and whose activity on behalf of humankind is timelessly ancient. As worshipers, we join in rejoicing over the coming of the messenger “who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns’” (Isa. 52:7). We also celebrate “the LORD, for he is coming to judge the earth . . . with righteousness, and . . . equity” (Ps. 98:9). Then a note of immediacy is struck by the focus on what God has done just now, in these “last days,” in which “he has spoken to us by a Son” (Heb. 1:2). The One who was present at Creation, the eternal Word, “became flesh and lived among us” (John 1:14).

Questions and Suggestions for Reflection

• Read Isaiah 52:7-10. Where do you see signs of God’s peace amid the world’s brokenness?
• Read Psalm 98. Where in your life has a new beginning come most startlingly from an ending?
• Read Hebrews 1:1-12. When you next celebrate the sacrament of Holy Communion, re ect on how God has brought healing to your life.
• Read Luke 2:22-40. When have you been surprised by an inbreaking of God’s extraordinary love in an ordinary moment?

Respond by posting a prayer.

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