“Once in Royal David’s City”
United Methodist Hymnal – #250
With the poor, the scorned, the lowly
lived on earth our Savior holy.
Quick – describe heaven! Is the heaven you imagine all white and bright, with beautiful clouds and harp music pervasive? What about wings? Were there angels with wings and flowing white robes? It’s an image that we have become quite comfortable with. We have heard time and time again about the bright white light beckoning those who pass from this world to the next, only to be medically revived and returned to our reality. But there are other ways to see heaven. It could be as simple as the faces of your children, parents, and other loved ones. In fact, I think that perhaps heaven might be found in the company of those we love, and who love us. And in keeping with that thought, think how difficult it is to say goodbye. Like a nice warm bed on a really cold morning, we just don’t want to leave and break the spell. And why would we? What could be better than to be comfortable one minute, then thrust into an alien environment. Much like birth – it’s no wonder newborn babies cry. Yet . . . at this time of year we think about how God came to live among us. A hostile, alien environment, a dirty stable is not the white and fluffy image we have of heaven. And beyond that, we’re told that God’s Son, Jesus, lived and ministered to “the least of these”. The poor, the sick, the outcast, the disenfranchised and socially rejected, these were the friends of the One who came to gather us in. Perhaps Jesus’ ministry began on day one.
. . . the Dayspring from on high hath visited us,
to give light to them that sit in darkness
and guide our feet into the way of peace.
LUKE 1: 78-79
Gracious and loving God, we live in a world of contrasts. Happiness and sadness, darkness and light. We often find it difficult to see through the bad , to experience the good. Let us remember during this season, that Christ, the bringer of light, was born into the most hostile surroundings. And then let us look around us to discern where we might be light to someone else. Amen.
~Rev. L. Michael Kelley