Bulletins are printed, folded, and stuffed.
Candles are put into holders – new ones this year!!! – and set.
Sugar has taken up a seemingly permanent place on our staff table.
All is in readiness for worship on Sunday and Christmas Eve worship (4:00 PM and 11:00 PM) on Monday.
And now we wait.
For preachers, this is a time of fervent mulching and prayer. Yes, we pray for the perfect sermon on Christmas Eve, but really, that isn’t the point.
The point for this preacher is that there is an almost physical desire that hope would be named as more important than fear in this world. My hope is that those who come in out of the cold might find welcome in this house. My hope is that the power of Christ Jesus might take up the places of empty and despair that sound such clang in the souls of the walking wounded who include our very selves.
Oh, I have such hopes.
And those hopes are perhaps made more strong by the wash of violence and snarl that seem to be dominating our collective consciousness.
We cannot afford to be a people of hate. We cannot afford to allow it any purchase in our being. We cannot afford to be cavalier about our faith and our witness because it takes enormous and conscious effort to be a voice crying out in the wilderness of this time: Prepare the way of our God. The wounded will be made whole. All flesh shall see it together. For the mouth and the heart of our God have spoken it.
We are ready. We are ready we are ready we are ready.
We are ready for peace to speak and soak into the rough places.
We are ready.