A Word about the Word
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will travel to such and such a city and spend a year there and do business and make a profit.” Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring—what your life will be! For you are like vapor that appears for a little while, then vanishes. Instead, you should say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” [James 4:13–15]
Planning is always a good thing. Presumption is not. This year has been so frustrating because our plans keep having to change. I “presume” sovereignty over my life. James reminds me that only God and his will are sovereign.
This year, wedding plans have changed. Personal plans have changed. Travel plans have changed (I’ve got so many unused tickets with the airlines!). We should have memorized “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that” by now. But we haven’t. And so we get frustrated with everyone from our government to our schools to our churches that are just trying to wisely adapt their plans to the latest data.
Close to Home
Speaking of a change of plans, here’s one: Christmas Eve. We sure miss seeing so many of the Trinity family who are staying home due to COVID-19. And then we remembered that both times we held worship in the parking lot this summer, we saw so many of our fellowship! So, ready for this? On Christmas Eve, we’re holding two services in the parking lot! Just like during the summer, you can choose to stay in your car and listen to the service on your car radio. It promises to be a festive time celebrating the birth of our Lord with fire pits and glow sticks, with carols and the Word. Yes, we’re having Christmas Eve in the elements at 3:30pm and 6:30pm. Bring the entire family and your friends as well!
We will also inaugurate a beautiful and meaningful “midnight” Christmas Eve (inside)! At 11:15pm, we will gather, some in pajamas and others in Christmas best, singing carols, lighting candles, and then hearing that Christ the Savior is born at 12:00am Christmas morning.
A memorable Christmas Eve, either way: pick one that works for you.
The World as It Is
Sometimes the cup is half full: Since the turn of the twenty-first century, per capita income in the United States is up from $42,970 to $56,663. 9.4% of the globe survive on $1.90 per day or less. That’s down from 27.7% twenty years ago. (The number would be 7.9% if not for the pandemic.) Global life expectancy is up from 67.1 years to 73.2 years. The child mortality rate has dropped globally from 9.8 million annual deaths to 5.2 million.
Have you been checking out the Christmas lights around our area? Between downtown Cleveland and the Zoo and our neighborhoods, there are some pretty nice ones this year. And get a load of this in Athens, Georgia! The Griswolds have nothing on this Chick-Fil-A.
With so much anxiety and negativity in the world, the British organization “Action for Happiness” is urging people to spread some kindness around through its downloadable “Kindness calendar.” Check it out here.
And Then There’s This…
Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.
We who have so much to do and seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day.
We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.
We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.
We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.
We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.
To you we say, “Come Lord Jesus!”
[Henri J.M. Nouwen]
I’ll catch you on the other side.