umcgiving

December 20, 2020 — Fourth Sunday of Advent (Christmas)

A Moment for Mission

“The angel said, ‘Don’t be afraid, Mary. God is honoring you. Look! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.” —Luke 1:30-31, CEB

Merry Christmas ! God has broken into the world of sin, death, darkness and oppression with a word of salvation, reconciliation and redemption. God has broken into our world of violence and injustice with a word of ultimate hope: for those in despair, for the marginalized, for those held captive by the bondage of sin, for those lost in darkness. Ultimate hope that truly says, “Weeping may linger for the night, but joy comes with the morning.” (Psalm 30:5b, NRSV).

Merry Christmas! Great joy has broken over us. With the coming of Jesus, everything changes. Our worldviews are turned upside down “so the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:16 NRSV).

Merry Christmas! God has broken into our chaos through the child born in Bethlehem, who will one day stand in the synagogue with these subversive words flowing from his spirit: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” (Luke 4:18-19 NRSV).

Merry Christmas! God almighty has done a marvelous and mighty thing.

When we say, “Merry Christmas,” let’s mean it with all our heart, mind and soul. Let us surrender everything to Jesus so that his joy might be complete in us. Merry Christmas!

—“Why This Way? A Christmas Message from Bishop Leonard Fairley,” Kentucky Annual Conference, December 20, 2019. Adapted by permission.

Offertory Prayer
Loving God, in a world filled with uncertainty, we know that you are the constant in our lives. Thank you for the gift of your beloved son, Jesus. In your name, we pray. Amen.

Newsletter Nugget

A Million Voices
It is the price God pays, a million voices chaos
Is a million hells crying out for light enough to melt
Darkness away. “Come thou long-expected Jesus.”

A million voices longing for meaning before journey’s end.
What, when, why, how long? Voices searching,
Hoping, “Come, thou long-expected Jesus.”

A million voices shouting through faces filled with
Countless tears, weeping deeper than any words
Can articulate. God, do you hear? “Come, thou long-expected Jesus.”

“Jesus wept.” A million voices—“My God, My God,
Why have you forsaken me?” Jesus weeps the universal “Why?”

“Born thy people to deliver, Born a child and yet a King.”
A million voices knowing nowhere else to turn, no other
Ears to listen, no other’s heart, keeping silent until the
Answer comes. “Come, thou long-expected Jesus.”

A million voices, God’s aching heart, breaking into
A million pieces crying into the dark night of a million
Souls. “Rejoice! Rejoice! Emanuel shall come to thee.”

Come, Lord Jesus, come!

 —“How Long, O Lord? A Christmas Message from Bishop Leonard Fairley,” Kentucky Annual Conference, December 24, 2017. Used by permission.