Christmas Hope

by Pastor Tim White

It wasn’t quite the night before Christmas. But it was getting closer and I was struggling against becoming the grinch or Mr. Scrooge himself. My problems seemed big - I didn’t want to be a failure. I knew that I needed to just trust God, but it was easier said than done. I needed another miraculous “Light of Christmas - Hope.” Why do colds and flu come prior to Christmas? Orange Juice was not healing it and being taken out of the loop of my pastoral care was bad for my spirit.

So, I read the Christmas story again from every angle I could. Looking at it from the perspective of Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, the wisemen and the angels -- even the sheep. Each time I read the story more hope gathered inside me. I watched as Jackie decorated the Christmas tree, getting ready for her TLC Christmas party.

I needed something more powerful than antibiotics - what I needed was hope. Not just any hope but “Christmas Hope.” I was trying to stir up hope as I counted every time I said, "Merry Christmas and God bless you.” You see, this Sunday I want to win a homemade blackberry pie baked by Nancy McJunkin. There was joy in each blessing I shared with someone, and I was glad because by this Sunday I have to turn into one of the many Santa Claus’ joining in on the Santa Claus Conspiracy. We will visit hospitals, group homes and rehab centers to bring a party of joy to anyone who needs Christmas cheer. Our hope is that no-one will be forgotten in Seattle at Christmas this year.

This weekend, I am preaching on the “The Miracle of the Light of Hope.” After all, Christmas does light the night. I needed that hope - that solid good news of what Jesus could do for others and could still do for me. Our house was full of crock pots as Jackie was organizing a dinner for homeless camp, Tent City 4, tonight. At the same time, on the table laid notes organizing Families Adopting Families. (That’s a 34-year old tradition at Washington Cathedral to reach families in crisis who would not have Christmas if it weren’t for this grace.) Hanging on the refrigerator door were letters from the two children Jackie and I sponsor -- Jose Giberto - grade 3 in Honduras and Edina Kagwiria from Patmos School in Nairobi, Kenya, also in the 3rd grade. Christmas reaches out over a long distance in our church fellowship. I sat on a chair covered with invitations for our “Christmas Lights the Night” services. This year we have the live manger scene, camel rides for children, spectacular music and a candle lighting at the close. Seven Christmas Services in sparkling Spirit Falls Sanctuary which will mean over 2,000 people can experience personal Good News at this unusual church we call Washington Cathedral.

Yes, it wasn’t quite the night before Christmas, but all through the house I needed to remember that Christmas was Jesus finding a home in human hearts and mine needed it most. Another miraculous Christmas light sparked in my heart.

Please join me this weekend as we have a 20-minute deeper study of the Good News about the coming of Jesus Christ through the Miraculous Lights of Christmas Hope…