church

Nativity Prayer

Let the just rejoice,
For their justifier is born.

Let the sick and infirm rejoice,
For their Savior is born.

Let the captive rejoice,
For their Redeemer is born.

Let slaves rejoice,
For their Master is born.

Let free men rejoice,
For their Liberator is born.

Let all Christians rejoice,
For Jesus Christ is born.

~Augustine of Hippo

As we drove into the parking lot of our church last night, I heaved a sigh of relief that other cars were arriving as well.

We were rushed.

We were hurried.

When all we wanted was to be still, find peace and sanctuary.

We grabbed our candles and ushered ourselves into our seats as Caleb much too loudly exclaimed,

“Why do I always have to sit at the end?  I can’t see the words!”

Shushing commenced from the four of us more “well-behaved” ones.

As we sat and sang all those familiar Christmas hymns allowing  peace to settle upon us, it hit me.

Perhaps it was the vantage point that I had last night.  After all we were sitting  farther back than our customary location.

I glanced to the right and to the left, way up in front and towards  those seated behind us.

Softly and tenderly these words arose…

We are a shared huddled mess…desperately in need of a Savior.

There are those I know that are knee-deep in mess. 

Many that I have exchanged messy stories with over the last years.

There are those that  judging by their body language are hanging on by a messy thread.

Some  are better at dressing up and masking their messes.

I have done that a time or a dozen.

But if we are honest with ourselves, we are a mess. 

If I am breaking this news to you for the first time, I apologize but welcome to a club where your dues have been paid in full.

My eyes roamed up and down our row last night as I pondered one that hadn’t been in this pew with us since last Eve. 

Marveled at her reaching for a pew Bible to find the Christmas story.

When was the last time  those brown eyes gazed at those pages?

I shuddered as I thought over  the things that  occupy my mind that are not in the least bit eternal.

Tears welled when a man rose to pray or should I say praise God for our indescribable gift yet I know such great pain and sadness resides in his life.

 This is church.

A sanctuary for the messy.

A building meant to house fragments of lives.

A place to come as you are and to be welcomed.

Jesus came for the sick.

He came for the lame.

He came for the weak.

He came for the disappointed.

He came for the heartbroken.

He came for the broken bits.

He came for sinners.

He came to take messy lives in His hands and restore.

The admission price is a life full of holes that begs to be made whole.

You are never too late to find a place beside a manger or at the foot of the Cross.

 “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved.
  They will come in and go out, and find pasture.

  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy;
  I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

John 10: 9,10

Thank you for letting me share about my messy life over the years.

I hope that you have found encouragement when you have visited.

If your life is messy know that you are most welcome here.

Let’s seek the Redeemer together and pursue the life that He promises.

A life that is so full that it overflows!

Merry Christmas!

Helen

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