God delights for us to cup our hands in prayer and scrunch our faces against the vault of heaven in holy expectation that he will meet us in beautiful, mysterious ways. The Creator desires to captivate us not just with his handiwork but with himself— displaying facets of his character, igniting us with his fiery love, awakening us to the intensity of his holiness. (Margaret Feinberg, Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God)
This morning in worship we continued to explore the wonder of Christmas through Scripture, song and story. I shared with our community a beautiful story from Henry Van Dyke called The Other Wise Man. This imaginative tale, set during the time of the birth of Jesus, follows the journey of a fourth Wise Man, Artaban, who sells all his possessions to buy three precious jewels which he hopes to present to the newborn Christ Child. Although he planned to journey with the other three Magi to Bethlehem, he is delayed and fails to rendezvous with them. Artaban spends his whole life searching for the Christ, and in his search he gives away one, then two, and finally all three of his jewels to help others, but in the end his quest is fulfilled in unexpected ways.
This story reminds me of God’s invitation to participate in and share the good news of Christmas in word and deed, especially with those who are longing for restoration of body, soul and spirit. Enuma Okoro writes:
Our personal longings, for which we beseech God and wait on God’s answer, are valid; but we remind ourselves that God’s self-revelation and promised fulfillment is always intended for healing and reconciliation in the larger community. We must ask ourselves how we can hold vigil for the groaning of humanity that is larger and more expansive than our own. How do we learn to sync up our personal stories with the Story and stay open to being subsumed by God’s work in the world? (Silence – And Other Surprising Invitations of Advent)
How is God inviting you to participate in and share the good news of Christmas? Who in your circle of influence is longing for restoration of body, soul or spirit? Where in your world is Jesus already present and what gifts can you offer to Him?
Here is our complete worship flow:
- Welcome and Scripture Reading – Luke 2:1-7
- O Come All Ye Faithful (Chris Tomlin)
- Scripture Reading: Luke: 2:8-15
- Hark the Herald Angels Sing (Matt Maher version)
- Angels We Have Heard on High (Chris Tomlin version)
- Scripture Reading: Luke 2:16-20
- What Child Is This? (Third Day version)
- Announcements and Offering
- The Wonder and The Perfect Gift (Barb York)
- Message (The Other Wise Man)
- We Three Kings (Stephen Curtis Chapman version)
You can learn what other communities of faith experienced this weekend in worship at The Worship Community.