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St. Francis’ Christmas in Greccio, Italy
The Birth of Jesus
May Christ come to your heart this Christmas.
Jim Cyr, storyteller
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.” Desmond Tutu
Have you ever felt hopeless?
Listen to the story of the birth of John the Baptist and hear how God sent light and hope into a dark and hopeless time.
Can’t see the video? Click here
“In the days of King Herod of Judea,” Elizabeth’s womb was empty of child and Israel’s land was full of occupying Roman soldiers. Herod was the brutal puppet king of the cruel Roman oppressors. It was a dark and hopeless time.
What did you do when you felt hopeless?
In this dark and hopeless time people were praying. Israel was praying for a Savior to deliver them from Rome. Zechariah and Elizabeth were praying for a child to deliver them from the shame of being childless. In this dark and hopeless time God answered the prayers of Israel and Zechariah and Elizabeth with the birth of a baby.
We all go through times that feel dark and hopeless.
God can see in the darkness, even when we can’t. Psalm 139:12 “…even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day, for darkness is as light to you.”
Israel, Zachariah, and Elizabeth, were not alone in the darkness. God saw Israel, Zachariah, and Elizabeth on their knees, praying in the darkness. God heard the desperate prayers of Israel for a Savior and Zachariah and Elizabeth for a child.
And God answered their prayers first with a messenger of hope: John the Baptist, the child born to Zechariah and Elizabeth, and then with the fulfillment of the hope itself: Jesus, a Savior for Israel, a child born to Mary and Joseph.
You are not alone in dark and hopeless times. God sees you on your knees in the darkness. God hears your groans and prayers in your time of despair. God will send you a messenger of hope when you least expect it.
Are you watching for it?
And God has sent you a mighty Savior.
Do you believe it?
“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.”
When has hope shown up in a dark time in your life? Leave a comment and tell me about it.
“The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.” Albert Einstein
I remember my first encounters with “Mystery.” I was about seven years old and was attending a small United Methodist Church.
One Sunday I came home from church, placed a Bible and a picture of Jesus on top of my dresser, opened the red United Methodist hymnal to the first hymn, and sang “Holy, holy holy, Lord God Almighty…” As I sang I had an experience of the presence of God. It was beautiful!
That began my pursuit of Mystery.
A few years later I had a mysterious dream.
I dreamed I was in a sanctuary, much like the sanctuary of the United Methodist Church. Very loud organ music was playing and the sanctuary was so full of the presence of God that I was paralyzed. I couldn’t speak or move until the music stopped and the presence of God passed.
These experiences began a life-long chase after Mystery.
I think we all chase after mystery of one kind or another. We read mystery novels, watch TV shows about the hunt for Big Foot, and visit Stonehenge and marvel at its mysterious ancient construction.
We chase after mystery because when we experience it we feel awe, wonder, and delight.
The birth of St. Francis of Assisi was full of mystery. Give a listen…
Can’t see the video? Click here.
The story of the birth of St. Francis of Assisi points us to the “ultimate Mystery,” the mystery that German theologian, Karl Rahner, calls, “the Holy Mystery,” the mystery of God.
Albert Einstein was right: “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious;” and God is “the ultimate Mystery.”