Thank you, loving Father, for restoring our joy in you through the birth of your Son, Jesus. May his presence among us resurrect in us a new sense of peace and liveliness in living our lives refreshed by our Savior’s forgiveness and renewal. Amen.
The prayer above is something that I wrote recently for an Advent 2020 product, but was ultimately not used. So let’s enjoy a little Christmas in August by giving this prayer some thought.
For me, it’s nice to remember during any time of year that Jesus brings renewal and restoration. There is always a chance to start over again with Jesus. He is reborn in us each and every day. and any time we feel down and out, Jesus can lift us up and into his arms.
The concept of resurrection is a reminder that with Jesus alive in us, we have nothing to fear and we should be at peace. Living in him should be lively and active, something that moves us forward in our faith.
From manger to empty grave, our Jesus has moved forward for us. It’s our turn now to move forward for him with acts of forgiveness, love and service.
When I was worshiping at Praise and Worship Lutheran Church in Branson, MO, this past fall, Pastor Mark Hunsaker prayed that we would “cope with hope.” I liked that turn of phrase and it made me realize what a wonderful coping mechanism we have in the hope that we have in our crucified and risen Lord. No matter how bad things get in life, we have hope that Christ has conquered sin, trouble and all our frustrations. We have hope that this trial too (no matter how awful) will pass and we will one day be in paradise with our Lord, where there will be no more tears or pain or suffering.
St. Paul makes it clear: I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).
There is truly light at the end of the tunnel, as St. Peter tells us, “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast” (1 Peter 5:10).
A few things jump out for me in that verse.
• A little while. Though the suffering may seem endless to us now, this really will in the long run be a short period of time of hardship before the glorious joy to come.
• Restore you and make you strong. When the suffering ends, you will not be a shell of a person or a weak shadow of yourself. You will be renewed, re-energized and strong in the Lord. You will be fully you!
• Firm and steadfast. That is how we shall be and what we should be along the way: confident and sure in our trust in Christ to carry us through. No doubts, no questions, no confusion. Just faith in his power and grace to get us to the other side.