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Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Entertaining Angels

Luke 1:39-44

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea,  where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!  But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.” (NIV)

Benny ran an old fashion gas station in Ponca City, OK.  While all the other stations were building convenient stores with self-serve gas pumps, Ben kept his old building with two pumps.  Ben had the business.

Ben pumped the gas, visited with his customers, knew their children and pets by name.  He’d always ask about them.  If you forgot your wallet, he’d say, “Pay me later.”  He never kept records of your unpaid purchases.

Ben was an Elder.  When he retired he became our Parish Visitor.  He visited each of our 51 shut-ins once a week.  Ben would visit for five minutes, pray the Lord’s Prayer, then leave.  In contrast I visited our shut-ins 4 times a year, stayed for an hour, and served communion.

When children would visit their shut-in parents, they always heard about Benny’s visits.  “He’s always here visiting,” would be the report.  Never a mention of my long, thought-filled, but less frequent visits.

Benny was their angel, always there, always visiting.  When he visited eyes sparkled, cheeks glistened, and hearts leapt for joy.

I love email and voice mail – its fast, convenient, and unobtrusive.  But I must be honest I love a personal hand-written note, even the two sentence ones, and an unplanned drop-in personal visit, far more.  When I am blessed with these, my heart leaps for joy.

In Hebrews 13:1-2, we are instructed, “Keep on loving each other … do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” (NIV)

It’s Christmas.  Trees and homes are decorated with angels.  They are all so beautiful, but they do not move hearts.

Become a visiting angel and watch the hearts of the lonely (and yours) leap for joy.

Prayer:  Dear Lord, I am rushing today and I am short on time. Help me to slow down, to fret less, and to become a visiting angel today.  Help me learn that leaping hearts mean more than checking off items from my “To Do” List.  Amen.

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The cross is desecrated

by the feet of forgetfulness. (1)

In the weeks after the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger and the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, church pews were filled with worshippers.  Some came to mourn, some came for hope, many came for good news.

Yet it did not take long for the crowds to dissipate.  I do not know a single pastor who was surprised by this quick reversal in worship attendance.  We are use to it.

Christians rush to worship for Christmas, for Easter, for baptism, for confirmation, for marriage, and for death.  Each time they come longing for the Good News of the Gospel, which is secured for us in the cross.

With equal speed they rush home, back to the world, and fail to return to the cross until the next crisis or holy-i-day.

I wonder how frequently God must sigh at our forgetfulness of His grace and His heart’s desire that we gather around the cross for worship.

Our stampede towards the cross and our ensuing absence from worship is a desecration of the cross and all of the grace, mercy, and hope it brings. 

David said:

“I was glad when they said to me, let us go up to the house of the Lord!” (2)

Jesus said,

“Take up your cross and follow me!” (3)

Lord forgive me when I trust your grace, ignore your presence, and flee from your cross.

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  1. Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening : Daily Readings, Complete and unabridged; New modern edition. (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers, 2006).
  2. Psalm 122:1
  3. Matthew 16:24

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