Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Caroline DOK Prayer Cycle
Christ Church Greenville St Margaret Senior 1/5/2020
Province IV Woodstock GA Board Meeting Senior 1/12/2020
EDUSC ECW Gravatt Conference Center Annual Convention DNA 1/19/2020
Church of the Ridge Trenton St Clare of Assisi Senior 1/26/2020
Epiphany Spartanburg Dorcas Senior 2/2/2020
Faith Lutheran Pickens St Therese of Lisieux Senior 2/9/2020
Good Shepherd Columbia Bishop Howe Senior 2/16/2020
Good Shepherd Greer St Teresa Avila Senior 2/23/2020
Love came down at Christmas! There is a carol in our hymnal that uses these words of Christina Rosetti’s poem to ask about the signs that Christ was born. Let’s think about those signs: We know that the angels filled the heavens and sang to all who would listen, and we know that the star led the wise men to Bethlehem. These are well-known signs to lead certain individuals to the right place. And, of course, Gabriel spoke directly to the right person who would become the mother of Jesus, and an angel spoke to Joseph to prepare him for his new life. God sent signs to individuals based on what those people would understand. However, the shepherds probably were not well-educated, and may not have understood the message of the angels, if not for their sign: they were directed to find a babe “wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” Perhaps swaddling clothes were generally used for infants, but—a manger?
While I had never thought about this much before, I can see that seeing and hearing angels could have been confusing to many. However, a friend recently added that these were Levitical shepherds in charge of watching over lambs designated for sacrifice in the temple. These lambs had to be without blemish and soon after their birth they were taken to a designated stable and wrapped in swaddling cloths and laid in a manger until the time for their sacrifice. This would protect the lambs from injury and also insure they would not resist at the time of the sacrifice. The shepherds would know the significance of the sign. This special baby was the Lamb of God. Nothing in God's plan is accidental. Even the shepherds that were out in the hills were chosen by God to find the newborn Babe!
Sisters, our Cross is our sign. Our Savior lives within us. We are called to be people of peace: Let us love one another. Let us have the humility to see all we encounter as precious to Him, just as we all are. May we abide in God’s love. May God’s love abide in us.
The new year is a great time to start fresh with a renewed zest for both sharing God’s love and basking in it ourselves. God always loves us; why not take a moment to thank Him for last year, ask His forgiveness for where you have failed, and dedicate this new year to Him - to serve Him and love Him afresh. Pray that we may more deeply understand the richness of His love and practice more faithfully our call to give of ourselves in love, kindness, and patience.
“Take My Life”
Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee; take you moments and my days, let them flow in ceaseless praise….Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for thee.