From Isaiah 43, Luke 2
• Talking with another pastor this week, what is favorite holiday, what’s best about slash passion for being pastor, also the sometimes challenge of taking a familiar story and telling it again...
• But there is something to be said about the familiar... potential assurance in dark times. I think that’s what God was teaching in the years wandering in the wilderness: trust in me. I make food and water appear for you, you have but to collect it and be satisfied. Give me thanks. When you wander from me I will raise up for you a faithful one to bring you back. Trust in me, have faith in me, listen to what I say.
• The people of Isaiah’s time knew trouble, knew sorrow, knew desperation. And God spoke into their situation and said Trust in me, have faith in me, I am redeeming you, I love you, I am for you.
And I’m doing a new thing. I will walk among you, live among you, live IN you, restore you renew you redeem you. There will be no desert in your life in which I cannot produce fruit, there will be no darkness in your life in which I cannot shine, no wilderness path you must walk without me.
Into your desert: I come, bringing water.
Into your unending suffering: I come, bringing respite
Into your darkness: I come, bringing light.
Into your unchanging oppression: I come, bringing justice
Into your brokenness: I come, making new.
I am Emmanuel, God-is-with-us.
Prayer: Come Lord Jesus. Help us see you. Help us to make room in our hearts for thee.
• Children’s Program: The Case of the Reluctant Innkeeper