Today's hopeful message comes from the book of Isaiah 40: 1 and 11.
Comfort, comfort my people says your God. Like a shepherd he tends his flock: he gathers up the lambs with his arms and he carries them close to his heart; and gently leads the mother sheep.
During the season of Advent as we prepare for the coming of Christ and Christmas, we see and hear the drum beat of December 25th coming closer and closer each and every day. Have you noticed the early evening darkness becoming brighter with the twinkling of all those Christmas lights here and there? Or all the commercials giving you ideas on what to buy this season? Or how about the television specials highlighting the sounds of the season with all those famous musicians? Then there's the children's shows like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and The Grinch Who Stole Christmas?
In some ways it feels like COVID-19 is the Grinch trying to take the joy out of the season. But don't let it, no! Did you hear our scripture?
God says comfort, comfort my people, and he assures us that his loving presence, not just in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago, but his presence is real, here and now through the Holy Spirit. God gathers you up like those lambs and carries you close to his heart; he uses ordinary people like scientists and healthcare workers and seniors and young people to be his hands and his voice, giving us gifts like vaccines and treatments, and people dedicated to serve and care for one another.
I see God so clearly in the way the Immanuel staff care so deeply for the seniors they serve. It's not just a job, it's a calling. Look around and listen. Can you spot God's presence? He carries you close to his heart. Now, may God be above you to protect you, behind you to encourage you, beside you to be your friend, and may God be within you to give you peace. Amen.
Remember to keep praying for this world that needs you. Don't forget to wear your mask, wash your hands and please don't touch your face.
Remember, God is with us,
Pastor Peggy Hall
VP Mission and Spiritual Care