Stand up and raise your hands, your redemption is drawing near. Luke 21:28
Daniel 7: 9 – 10, 13 – 14
Revelation 1: 4b–8
Eternal God, you have taught us that the night is far spent, and the day is at hand. Keep us awake and alert, watching for your kingdom, and make us strong in faith, so that when Christ comes in glory to judge the earth, we may go out joyfully to greet him, and with yours saints, may worship you forever: through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit one God, now and forever. Amen.
Bethlehem and Bedlam: Weren’t they intimately related at the first Christmas when Jesus was born? Sometimes we forget that. Remember that Bedlam in Bethlehem that night? Just think of it – a crowded inn, a stable, a census, political intrigue, soldiers marching in the street, a busy city, people pushing and shoving, people scrambling for shelter. In that Bedlam in Bethlehem so many centuries ago, Christmas happened. Christmas broke through in that busy hectic uproar, it happened here and those with the eyes, ears, and hearts of faith saw it, heard it, and felt it.
This is the good news of Christmas; God meets us where we are. God breaks into our uproar, our busyness, our hectic pace, our darkness, and our confusion through the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem – Jesus, who we know as the King of Kings, the light of the world, and the gracious, forgiving one who understands.
In Jesus, God gives us a new understanding of what God is like, a new experience of God’s compassion and tenderness, a new relationship with God, not built on fear but built on love. Every now and then, in the mists of Bedlam, we find Bethlehem. We are reminded that God loves us, and that’s the thing that keeps us going. James W Moore