This morning I woke feeling compelled to share some thoughts I had during our beautiful Christmas concert last night. If you were in attendance, I'd be curious to know if the Holy Spirit enlightened you with similar thoughts and feelings.
"Come and see what God has done."
This past year has been a difficult one for our faith community. For some, I recognize this is a major understatement. Anytime an organization says goodbye to a leader—it doesn't matter under what circumstances—hearts hurt. And it's not just the three staff members we said goodbye to this year—it's the cumulative grief of several years of saying goodbye to more than a dozen other beloved staff members. Added to that is the emotional and mental energy of adjusting to new faces and personalities on staff. No matter how glad we are to welcome them, and no matter how eager they are to join us, it takes a time of adjustment for all of us.
This summer, I recognized that I had to work through my own grief. I had many conflicting thoughts and emotions to sort through, which led me into paths I preferred not to go. Grief is hard work. But with God's love and guidance, I obediently followed my Good Shepherd. Now, months later, I can honestly say that I'm grateful for the tough path I've walked, because I know the Holy Spirit is transforming me through this hard work... again…and again…and again.
As I heal, the testimony of God's people is helping me the most.
Yesterday, while our gifted teenagers in Living Water sang “Noël,” God gave me a crystal clear moment of truth. The word noël comes to us from the Latin verb nasci, meaning “to be born.” So in a sense, the youth were singing "Be born! Be born, come and see what God has done." By singing Noël over and over again (I counted at least 16 times), these young hearts were proclaiming that new life is being born again and again and again and we are invited to "come and see." Do we see it?
These are my people.
I see new life being born all around me. As music filled the Prince of Peace sanctuary, I thought, "These are my people!” I was humbled. I was proud.
I know their stories well...
the pain and hurt they live with,
the challenges they lean into and are overcoming,
the questions and uncertainty of the future,
the shame and regret they carry around,
the strained relationships in their lives,
the despair that sometimes overwhelms.
And yet, in the middle of it all, they—and we—can still raise our voices in praise of God. An invitation rings out, loud and clear: "Be born! Be born! Come and see what God has done."
Come and see... How Jesus is mending our brokenness and growing our faith!
Come and see... The new-found joy and trust in our midst! Come and see... The mantle of leadership being transferred—with such respect and validation! (The duet between Wally and Michael was awesome and their embrace afterwards left me speechless.)
Come and see... Gifts being shared, God lifted up, and ALL appreciated!
Come and see... Applause ringing out for a great and mighty God who saves and restores!
How is this possible—for a community to continue moving in the midst of great change, uncertainty, and grief? Oh, my friends, it's only by the power of the Holy Spirit in our midst. Do we see it?
Noël! Noël! Come and see what God has done!
Let us pray: Abba Father, thank you for holding us close and walking with us in seasons of change and grief. Thank you for sending us your Holy Spirit, our Comforter, who is moving in our midst, to heal and restore all things to yourself. Give us eyes to see all that you have done. Amen.
About the Author: Stacey likes refers to herself as a “beautiful mess” who is learning to embrace the messiness of her life and live gracefully and authentically within it. She likes to create and enjoys the places it takes her. Stacey is married to Jeff and together they have two beautiful, very independent, strong-willed girls who are also learning to love and give love authentically. Jeff and Stacey are a family fighting for slow in northern Virginia after living in Germany for thirteen years. Stacey enjoys having friends over to her house, spending time with her family at home and on the road, reading, painting, basking in the sun, and encouraging others to move out in courage to live and share God’s love.