This week's author is Tiffany Vail, Associate Conference Minister for Communication for the Connecticut Conference, UCC.
Isaiah 61:10-62:161:10 I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
61:11 For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations.
62:1 For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until her vindication shines out like the dawn, and her salvation like a burning torch.
Reflection:When you read this, it will be Christmas day (or later) and you will, I hope, have made it through the Advent wait to a joyous celebration of the birth of Christ.
As I'm writing this, however, it is still Advent. I am still waiting. And I've got to say - rejoicing seems a little tough these days.
Every day seems to bring a barrage of bad news. A tax plan that takes from the poor to give to the rich. Healthcare for millions of children taken away. Countless stories of women who have suffered from harassment and abuse. Racism still alive and well all around us. Some days its hard to face the evening news, the daily paper and the social media feed.
But we know the good news, too. That Christ was born to bring new light into the world. To bring us salvation. And so we rejoice. And if we look a little bit deeper, beyond the screaming headlines, we begin to get a glimpse of some of that good. Women empowered to speak up for themselves for the first time. The rebirth of the Poor People's Campaign, a national call for moral revival. Progressive Christians awakening from their slumber to preach the good news the way they understand it.
So yes, let us rejoice in Christ's birth. But let us also not keep silent, let us not rest, until the good news that Jesus brought has reached everyone.
Prayer:Dear God, we rejoice in the birth of your son and the light he has brought us. Let that light continue to guide us as we strive to bring your love and justice to all.
Special Prayer Requests:
- Christmas blessings to all and may your New Year begin with hope and joy.
- Those grieving or suffering after a train derailed in Washington state, killing several and leaving dozens injured on Dec. 18;
- the family and friends of Rev. Hebert Kelsey, retired UCC pastor, who died Dec. 10;
- the family and friends of Marion Zappula, mother of Rev. Jack Zappula, and mother-in-law of Rev. Dave Peters. Marion died on Dec. 11;
- those affected by wildfires in the Santa Barbara County are of California;
- those grieving after a school shooting in New Mexico left 3 dead on Dec. 7;
- those grieving or suffering after an attack on U.N. peacekeeping forces in eastern Congo left 15 dead and over 50 wounded on Dec. 7;
- the family and friends of Rev. Betsy Bloomfield, retired pastor and long-time active member of the CT Conference, who died Nov. 13;
- the friends and family of Rev. Hugh Penney, paster Emeritus at South Church in New Britain, who died on Nov. 12;
- the people of Puerto Rico, after Hurricane Maria caused massive devastation on Sept. 20;
- the millions of people currently worried about losing health insurance as the White House and Congress consider and enact changes to the current health care system;
- the thousands of child immigrants protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program as their future becomes unclear after the President's announcement that the program will end in the near future;
- Mark Engstrom, member of the CT Conference Board of Directors, and his wife Nina, who are facing health issues;
- the community of Conway, MA, and the United Congregational Church, UCC, Conway after a tornado touched down on Feb. 25 causing significant structural damage;
- the members and staff of Thompson Congregational Church after a fire severely damage the building on Dec. 29;
- Michael White, former Operations Manager at Silver Lake Conference Center, who was diagnosed with colon cancer;
- Juliane Silver, the daughter of the Rev. Jim Silver of Middletown, who is in dire need of a liver transplant. We pray that a donor will come forward giving the gift of life and a portion of their liver to Juliane;
- Chacy Eveland, husband of the Rev. Marcia Eveland, pastor of the First Congregational Church UCC of Ansonia, who has been moved to a full-time facility for care of dementia;
- the thousands of migrants worldwide who flee from violence and persecution in search of safety;
- our ecumenical partners in the Kyung-Ki Presbytery in South Korea;
- the Conference's partners working for peace in Colombia amidst violence;
- the leaders of this nation, that they may meet the challenges of the day with insight, wisdom, and compassion;
- this nation, that it may continue its difficult work to end the practices of racism; and
- those serving or living in war or conflict zones around the world, or where terrorists have struck.
Please Remember These Connecticut Conference Churches
In Your Prayers:
Broad Brook Congregational Church
Carol Lewis - P
Congregational Church of Brookfield
Bryn Smallwood-Garcia - SP
Jennifer Lynn Whipple - AP
Barbara Crandell - CE
Des Desmond - PE
Federated Church of Christ UCC
Charlotte E. Bell - P
Congregational Church of Burlington
Wendell M. Taylor - P
Christopher Dabbo - MM
First Congregational Church of Canterbury, UCC
Cheryl A. Caronna - DT
Tiffany Vail is the Director of Media & Communications for the Southern New England Conference.
December 25, 2017