by Pastor Vera Guebert-Steward
Paul writes to the people of Ephesus: “16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is.”
I recently had a bit of a meltdown during worship one Sunday morning. I was deeply stirred by many things going on in my life and my ministry. My heart was overwhelmed with the struggles of being a Pastor and hearing again and again the discontent, sadness and pain of you, my people. I finished the service, but it was all I could do before I exited to my office to compose myself. Enough already I prayed. Enough of the burden of bearing so much. The rest of the morning went well, Rachel preached wise words, the bell choir played beautifully and about noon I headed home. But I couldn’t stop thinking about the morning; about my heart that was becoming cold and losing hope. I believe what I am feeling is exaggerated and exacerbated by our Nation’s climate of negativity and rage.
This morning, as I write this article for our Mountain Echo, I am given a new day. The sun is shining and the temperatures this week are expected to be mild with lots of sunshine and blue sky. During some quiet time and reflection, I found a song expressing a prayer for my life and yours that uses a line from the Christmas Hymn, “O, Little Town of Bethlehem.” Be born in us today keeps reverberating in my mind. Written by David Haas, a wonderful lyricist and musician, the words of this Christmas hymn are compelling in these days of preparation, anticipation and yes, desperation.
“Through the winter and the cold,
our faith can weaken and grow old;
so we ache to find a song of a God,
one to whom we can belong.
Instead of power shown as might,
a tiny baby is your light;
we find a child who sings the way.
Come now, be born in us today.
Christmas comes, and Christmas goes,
yet pain and violence sadly grow.
We cry and hurt. When will it end?
Is there a savior, a messiah whom you’ll send?
We pray in hope,
please hear our cry, or is the story just a lie?
We need the child to show the way.
Come now, be born in us today.
The gift of Jesus, born in a lowly stable to parents unsure of their future and living in a chaotic time, is truly a gift of peace. Jesus comes to us to bring us hope; to be our hope. Jesus comes to bring us a spirit of power, positivity, joy and strength in a time when we feel powerless, negative, heartbroken and weak.
I’ve resolved to press on and take the good staff of ELC with me as we seek to regain a positive and hopeful perspective. I want our Advent, Christmas and Epiphany Seasons to bring light and joy to you. Each and every day I want us to pray for Jesus to be born in us so that what stirs us toward darkness will be given a 180. We will instead, see and feel all that is good at ELC, in our community, nation and world. Be born in us. What an important prayer today and every day God gifts us with new life and abundant mercy. May Jesus be born in you so that nothing can separate you from God’s love. May Jesus be born in us today. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Blessed Epiphany my dear family in Christ.