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Categorized | From the Pulpit

And a little child shall lead us

Pastor Michelle Vallier 

Cedar Springs UMC

140 S. Main St, Cedar Springs, MI 49319

It’s the day before Christmas Eve, the season we have anticipated! What things have you looked forward to most? A day off perhaps? Time with family? Christmas goodies and presents? Just a break from the chaos of the world?

It’s the season of Peace, Hope, Joy, and Love…and yet it can be so difficult to feel more than a longing for those things, as we continue to battle Covid-19, school safety concerns, and all kinds of personal tragedy.

As I contemplate the stress I feel, in myself and around the community, my mind is drawn to the beautiful simplicity of the Nativity. Whether acted out by living people and animals, crafted from wood or other materials, or lit up with colored lights along a country road, the image of the baby Jesus in the manger, surrounded by doting parents, shepherds, angels, and a variety of animals brings me closer to a feeling that all will indeed be well. 

Luke 2:10 (NRSV) bring us the words of the angel to the shepherds in the field, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people.” These words resonate from the earliest days of my childhood, insisting that even in the midst of stress, good news is coming.

What is this good news, that will be for all people? It seems in this dog-eat-dog world, there are always winners and losers; and yet even the winners don’t really win in the long term. 

Words of hope and promise are found in the prophecy of Isaiah 11:6 (NRSV). “The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them.” 

The way of Jesus Christ, the Word of God in human flesh, who came to us so humbly as a baby in a manger, calls the powerful to stand down, to relinquish that power, providing safety for those who have been in a weaker position. Our hope for peace comes in our willingness to be humble. Competition is no longer the order of the day. Instead, we are invited to reflect on ways we can contribute to joy, through acts of love, not only toward those in our close community of friends and family, but toward all people. 

May we see the ways God continues to bless us and may we all be a blessing to one another this Christmas season and in the coming year.

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