Where is the Joy?- Throughout the season of Advent everything was harder then it needed to be. The gifts we ordered for my sister-in-law and her family were returned to sender. While writing our Christmas letter my computer keyboard stopped working, the labels printed incorrectly and FedEx couldn’t help me self print. I got the flu (knocking me out for days), the bottom strand of lights went out on our Christmas tree, we fell behind on our Christmas decorating, had winter weather, and I know someone was inadvertently left off our gift list. Have you ever had days or weeks like this where even the simplest task becomes frustrating and nothing seems to go smoothly? It appeared to be one thing after another and it kept coming, culminating with a pipe bursting at church on Christmas Eve leaving part of our sanctuary under water hours before worship services were to begin! Maneuvering through the missteps and obstacles sucked some of the joy out of what comes with the season of preparing. Although the moments were annoying, they were far from life altering and All is Well.
The First Christmas– Upon sharing my Advent obstacles I was reminded I was not alone. I heard from friends dealing with illnesses that set them back in their preparations and caused them to miss special celebrations. Others were spending the season navigating life without a loved one, making my inconveniences minor in comparison. My thoughts took me to the first Christmas where Mary and Joseph were faced with setbacks. No room at the inn, an unexpected birth in a stable surrounded by animals, and a manager for a bed! Throughout their journey they never lost hope and All is Well.
All Is Well This Christmas– Members of our Zion congregation band together with shop vacs in hand and cleaned up our sanctuary in a little over an hour and our Christmas Eve services commenced. All Is Well! On Christmas morning our cards had been sent, our halls were decked, presents wrapped, and we were ready to invite family and friends into our home to celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. All Is Well! And if you know St. Louis weather, in a few days the Arctic freeze melted away and it was 60 degrees! All Is Well!
Looking Harder for the Joy- Sometimes we have to look harder to uncover the joy. It’s always there but we get distracted. This year the unexpected opened my eyes to what Christmas is truly about. Through the frustration of trying to get our Christmas letters printed I met Toya, a manager at the FedEx in Wal Mart. Toya was patient and kind and went out of her way to help me. After several visits to the store I felt we had made a connection and I asked her if she was a Christian. She said she was and with tears in her eyes shared this was the first Christmas without her son who had recently went to be with Jesus. I had a scripture ornament in my coat pocket, leftover from the Advent By Candlelight event at church, and I was moved to gift it to Toya. A sweet moment between two strangers in a world of chaos. All Is Well
My choir sang the song All Is Well on Christmas. I pray no matter what you are experiencing this Christmas you can find peace and love in the birth of our Lord and Savior, Emmanuel.
All Is Well All is well, all is well. Heaven and earth rejoice! For tonight darkness fell into the dawn of love’s light. Sing alle, sing alleluia!
All is well, all is well. Lift up your voice and sing. Born in now Emmanuel. Born is our Lord and Savior. Sing alleluia! All is well!
All is well. All is well. Let there be peace on Earth. Sing, for Christ is come, go and tell that He is in the manger. Sing alle, sing alleluia.
Born is now Emmanuel. Born is our Lord and Savior. Sing alleluia, alleluia!