Renewal Through God with Us

Christmas Eve

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Luke 1:46-55, The Message (MSG)

RENEWAL THROUGH GOD WITH US

This year has been a whirlwind of exhilaration and despair:  integrating into a new culture, learning multiple languages, making new friends (all exhilarating), and then the stories of the refugees confronting suffering to a degree I still struggle to comprehend.  Despair beyond despair.  When I look around at all that is happening simultaneously:  the good that is occurring as refugees who have lost everything begin to rebuild their lives, and the sense of being overwhelmed as between 1000-2000 refugees continue to come across Uganda’s borders every day … sometimes it’s hard to catch my breath.

Recently, I was reminded of a line from the Talmud which says, “Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief … You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”  And I remember to breathe.  The scripture above is a litany of the ways God is acting in the world, some of which are unexpected and surprising.  It reassures me I am not working alone.  In fact, it is the Almighty working to address these issues, not me, and in ways so amazing I sometimes also still struggle to comprehend.

Then something happens.  The shock and despair begin to fall away, and I’m struck with the beauty and ever-renewing goodness of the world.  What a privilege to get to work alongside the Almighty in the never-ending work of restoration!  In the words of Mary, according to The Message translation of the scripture passage, I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!  Praise be to God who is always with us.  May you all feel the spirit of renewal this Christmas season.

Merry Christmas, Bayshore!

–Karen Alford