Friday, December 18, 2020

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16-17
I threw in my bag an almost-empty tube of toothpaste as I packed for vacation thinking I'd finish it and toss it before I returned home. Well, at the end of the week, there was still some left, so I brought it home. I was surprised it lasted another 10 days! How quickly we toss aside things that are almost empty or old. How often does a senior citizen feel he's no longer fit to serve or do much? And oh, how very sad that feeling is!
It energizes me to visit a retirement home in the independent living area and see how much life there is still left to live! I marvel at the woman who I can hear beautifully playing the piano as I walk past her apartment. Or I see the woman recovering from a broken ankle diligently walking with her physical therapist. I hear the peals of laughter coming from a dinner table of friends sharing a joke. I meet a woman outside who tells me she goes for a morning and evening walk everyday to draw nearer to God.
God has a way of showing us throughout the Bible how much an older person can do. Just how old were Abraham and Sarah when she gave birth to Isaac? How old was Noah when he built that ark? Moses was no young lad when he led the Hebrew slaves to their freedom!
And just how old is the Christmas story? Do you find yourself thinking, "Oh, I heard that so many times before!" But just maybe you need to read it once more, maybe in a different version than the one you are so familiar with, to hear something you may have missed. Have you thought about what it would have been like to be in Mary's place? Could you have been so receptive and obedient to giving birth to God's son? Or Joseph? How would you have handled all the whispers about Mary's pregnancy? How about those shepherds tending to their sheep when all of a sudden they were surrounded by a multitude of angels delivering the message that Christ the Lord, a Savior, was born? The shepherds found baby Jesus wrapped in priestly cloths. Did they realize they were the same cloths used by the church — specifically, the shepherd priests — to keep the lambs clean and free of blemishes as the lambs were prepared for the sacrifice? Jesus is the lamb of God and the great High Priest, so was fitting because one day He would be sacrificed like a lamb for you and me.
Just how many times have you sung those old hymns in Christmases past? Knowing the Savior of the world has come should move us to let loose with praise and song. Do you close your eyes and still marvel as the shepherds must have at the sight of baby Jesus when you sing "Away in a   Manger"? How can you not be lifted by the Holy Spirit as you sing "Joy to the World" or "Go Tell it on the Mountain"! All of these old hymns still carry that earth-shattering message - Our Savior is Born - heard so many years ago and still so relevant today.
PRAYER: Dear God, Thank you for the birth of your Son and our Savior Jesus, who like a sacrificial lamb, died on the cross for our sins so we never need to be separated from You. Amen. 
Eileen Phillips
St. John's Ivyland
820 Almshouse Road
Ivyland, PA 18974
Rev. Brad Leight, Pastor