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December 19 – A Crown for Ashes

Post 181 of 198

read: “He has sent me . . .to provide for Zion’s mourners, to give them a crown instead of ashes, oil of joy in place of mourning, a mantle of praise in place of discouragement.” -Isaiah 61:3

This time of year can be so much fun. it can also be hard for people who are dealing with grief, illness, or lack of resources to celebrate as others do. 

One Christmas Eve afternoon, I was sitting in my office at the church, putting the final touches on the sermon for worship that night. A disheveled woman rang the doorbell. It was quite cold out, so I let her in to warm up. As we talked over a cup of coffee, I noticed she wasn’t wearing shoes. I asked if I could get her some shoes. She said no, but if I were to get her something, could I get her some clothes for the baby? Then she revealed the tiny infant she was carrying underneath her sweatshirt.

I went down to our clothing closet. I was racking my mind thinking about how our church could help them, praying for insight. I grabbed some oversized women’s boots and onesies and blankets for the baby. When I returned with the items, the woman and her child were gone. I looked around outside and found no evidence they had even been there. 

I wondered: Had I just seen the Christ child and his beloved mother?  No lights or feasts had been surrounding them.  No carols heralded them. They were just two people, in need.

act: Find someone who needs your help and take a moment to help. Take time to pray for or with them.

with children: Ask children, where do you think Jesus would have been born here in our neighborhood? Encourage their imagination.

pray: Glorious God of reversal, help us to see you lifting up the lowly and encouraging the despairing, there in the manger. Amen.