I can’t begin to convey the magic of Frederick Buechner’s sermon “The Birth”. Sermon isn’t really the right word. It’s more like three interviews with people who witnessed the event: the Innkeeper, the Wise Men, and the Shepherds. The quote above is from the Innkeeper’s account, his witness, his confession – that’s what it is in the end – his confession. And it’s my confession, too; maybe it’s yours.
Are we lost in the forest of our concerns, so lost we can’t see the Light of the World around and among us?
He came to his own people and his own people…”missed” him. Do we, like the innkeeper, have no room, no mental or emotional space, for Jesus to be born? Are we missing him? Are we aware we are missing him?
List out some of the ‘million things’ in your life. Note down times in your life when those things caused you to miss something important. Write down what Jesus means to you and what you might do to give him more space in your life.
I highly recommend Buechner’s book and that you read this particular sermon. What I have shared here doesn’t begin to do it justice.
Grace and peace to you…
p.s. This is a refresh of a past post from early 2018
We live in a perilous time, a time we need to pray through so we can act with honesty, courage, and love…after we listen with honesty, humility, and love. Listen to the Spirit within us, in the pages of the Bible, and in those we may or may not agree with. Act by following Jesus on his path toward Golgotha and the Cross, in order to finally arrive in Glory, all together, beyond our differences and unified.
Two prayers come to mind for times such as these. Let’s take the opportunity to consider, to imagine, to lean in, and to appropriate these words for ourselves, our loved ones, and even for those we don’t love so much.
I hope you find them encouraging and uplifting.
Grace and peace to you…
You may be interested in reading a previous post about this prayer here where there are some prompts for reflection.
The second prayer, a hymn attributed to St. Patrick, comes in two parts (with music by yours truly). You can see the original posts here and here.
I bind unto myself to-day The strong name of the Trinity, By invocation of the same. The Three in One and One in Three.
I bind this day to me for ever, By power of faith, Christ’s Incarnation; His baptism in Jordan river; His death on cross for my salvation; His bursting from the spiced tomb; His riding up the heavenly way; His coming at the day of doom; I bind unto myself to-day.
I bind unto myself to-day The power of God to hold and lead, His eye to watch. His might to stay, His ear to hearken to my need. The wisdom of my God to teach, His hand to guide. His shield to ward; The Word of God to give me speech, His heavenly host to be my guard.
Against the demon snares of sin, The vice that gives temptation force, The natural lusts that war within, The hostile men that mar my course; Or few or many, far or nigh. In every place, and in all hours, Against their fierce hostility, I bind to me these holy powers.
I bind unto myself the Name, The strong Name of the Trinity; By invocation of the same, The Three in One, and One in Three. Of Whom all nature hath creation; Eternal Father, Spirit, Word: Praise to the Lord of my salvation Salvation is of Christ the Lord.
Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.