“Love Came Down at Christmas”
United Methodist Hymnal – #242
Love was born at Christmas;
star and angel gave the sign.
In the movie “You’ve Got Mail”, Meg Ryan inadvertently finds herself in the “Cash Only” line of her neighborhood grocery store with only a credit card to pay for her purchase. It’s the night before Thanksgiving, the store is full, and tempers are running high. As she pleads with the checker to accept her card, the man behind her, exasperated by her apparent disregard for the rules exclaims, “There’s a sign!” pointing to the large “Cash Only” sign. She, in her preoccupation, had just missed it. This is a round about way of asking, how many signs do we miss every day? Truth is, we’re inundated with signs. Some are there to keep us safe (walk/don’t walk, for example). Some are designed to keep us in our place, or to protect someone else’s belongings (keep off the grass!) Still others are strictly informative (Business hours 9 – 5). But there are other signs, the ones that may not be printed and posted. Non-verbal signs are everywhere. What about someone who suddenly stops showing up for a favorite activity, or someone who become unusually reclusive. Even body language, crossed arms, or the inability to make eye contact are all signs, potentially of a far more severe problem. Just as we must heed the signs that keep us safe and protected, we must not miss, or intentionally ignore the signs when a friend or colleague may be actually crying out for our help. We need to keep our eyes open to the signs around us, this Advent and beyond.
And this shall be a sign unto you;
You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes,
and lying in a manger.
LUKE 2: 12
God of Grace, you want only the best for your children. We thank you for your presence with us, and the opportunities for love and service you offer if we will but listen. We pray not to be oblivious to the signs you place around us, but rather, be vigilant in recognizing those signs, better enabling us to be your eyes, ears, and hands in our world, always striving to do your will. Amen.
~Rev. L. Michael Kelley