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A Yuletide Blessing
By: Jim Alseth

The Yuletide Season is such an excellent time to extend greetings and blessings to all our readers and campground owners. It is especially opportune if you happen to embrace, as we do, the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger. Permit me to share a few related thoughts as I have been meditating on this special season.

Deliberately setting aside all the fuss and stress the over-commercialization of Christmas puts upon us, I`ve found myself reflecting on things that make the holiday special--carols, bells, colors, family, community, laughter, snow-play, hot chocolate--just to name a few. There is something in these things that speak of celebration and hope, something in them that is pure, good and ageless.

I never tire of hearing the Christmas Story as it reads from Luke chapter two. "And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby" is as relevant today as it was two thousand years ago. And it has occurred to me in a more profound way this year that everything about this account trumpets the question, Why? Why did Christ come?

As I pondered this I continued on in the Book of Luke to the beginning of Jesus` public mandate where he returns for a visit to his hometown of Nazareth. On the Sabbath, he is sitting in the Jewish synagogue. (He of course was a Jew, his lineage from the tribe of Judah.) He was handed the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, where he began reading from chapter 61:

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord`s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion--to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations...."

The account tells us that Jesus finished the reading, sat down and proceeded to announce: "Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing."

The answer to the question why is so beautifully contained within this passage, that I will refrain from exegesis. Instead I want to use the passage to offer a prayer of blessing for you, Dear Reader, as we celebrate the Incarnation.

May you experience from the hand of the Lord this year healing for wounds long sore, deliverance from things which have brought darkness and bondage, and comfort where you have been grieving. May He crown your head with beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and a garment of praise in place of a spirit of despair. May the Lord rebuild those places that lay devastated, and in some significant area of your life may you experience 2008 as the year of the Lord`s favor. Amen.


Editor`s Note: I have mentioned in this space from time to time certain organizations we feel a kinship with in our faith journey. We have no economic ties with any of these organizations and a large portion of the people in them we have never met. Nonetheless, we know them as follow Sojourners and have been blessed in our journey by who they are and what they do. Lately, the friends at Ransomed Heart have been such ones. Many blessings to our friends at Ransomed Heart!

Published: 12/21/2005
Source: Great Camping Spots

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