It’s a simple prayer request. “Give us this day our daily bread.”
Still, sometimes we feel full of dread more than bread. We sense something’s missing. Some One. Which may be why more than two thousand years ago, God said, “It’s time.” And Jesus Christ, God’s Son, entered the world’s darkness and dread as the Light of the World. He arrived about the size of a loaf of bread.
Most missed God’s Gift back then. And many still do. It’s easy, especially if we give up looking and hoping. We settle for lesser gods of stuff and such. Yet, God still finds ways to connect by nudging, caring, reminding. Sometimes it’s as obvious as a package on the porch. Take last week when two loaves of Norwegian Julekake arrived, a gift from my sister-in-love, Chris.
But, it’s easy to thank God for obvious bread. But much of life involves a choice to believe before we see, to give thanks for nothing, it seems. As my grandmother taught my Mama concerning “tankfulness”, ” Ve set our hearts before ve set the table.” She called them, “Life’s valuable lessons.”
Well, that’s advanced faith. Like other saints among us, she believed against all odds. They hope even when their prodigals stay away, sickness persists, death comes, and prayers feel unheard, unanswered. Their faith, more fragile than we imagine, reminds us to hang tough when nothing changes. They whisper encouragement to trust just one more day in the God who is our daily bread.
Well, often God’s bread comes to strengthen fingernail faith to hang on, to love somehow, to forgive, listen and stay at the table. But sometimes heaven’s bread shows up in a word, Beloved. Like on a day when I felt adrift, a Christmas card arrived addressed to “Our beloved Jan.” Who does stuff like that? Folks who God taps to deliver his daily bread to someone hungry for something not sold in stores or available on-line.
So to any who read this and wonder, you are beloved by God. Even when it seems your prayers bounce back as addressee unknown. A long time ago, a man named Paul, wrote these words, maybe as much to remind himself in times of dark dread as for the rest of us:
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t… Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow… nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord. “( from Romans 8:38,39, NLT)
Well, dear friends and family, I pray you’ll sense God’s love this Christmas. Jesus isn’t hiding. Don’t look to the heavens or pedestals. Look where you’d least expect to find God. He’s on the lowest shelf, within the reach of all.
Then ponder, like Mary, God’s goodness, grace and love for the least likely.
Love came down at Christmas.
MARY Christmas, beloved ones!
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