We celebrate the birth of our Lord! God has brought an astounding and unexpected gift to our world. As we have talked this season about expecting the unexpected, I invite you to reflect on what unanticipated moments and gifts God has brought to you. Even when life brings unexpected trials, we are graced by God’s presence and the unexpected help God can send at just the right time. Each year I know that I find new ways that God has touched my life in unexpected and unanticipated moments that bring encouragement and strength. My prayer is for this to happen for you so that the blessing of God’s presence will enter your Christmas anew.

We reflect this Christmas Eve on the meaning of the manger and what God has brought to our world. I have always loved the old carol, “What child is this?” which asks that rather large question about who Jesus is for us.

The gift in the manger can mean many different things for each of us. It can mean love when we are feeling unacceptable or unworthy. It can mean hope when life has brought us low and the future looks so terribly bleak. It can mean a higher calling for us to live and follow the ways of Jesus so that we move God’s will into the world through our work, our prayers, our efforts for justice, our compassion and mercy. Come worship this Christmas Eve and find the meaning of the manger for you. As God’s people, let us welcome and honor God’s gift for the world. And let us find joyful ways to share this gift of love.

Dave Summers, PhD
Senior Pastor
Paradise Valley United Methodist Church
(602) 840-8360

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