Christmas Blessing

Tuesday, December 3

12-3By Julie Conway-Sword of Gainesville, Florida, USA

Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord.

 —James 5:14

The voices of the carolers floated down the hall to my hospital room, filling my eight-year-old head with wonderful thoughts as I looked forward to Christmas. Joy to the World, the Lord is Come. I would soon be home for Christmas with my parents and my sisters—or so I wished. Let Earth receive its King.

It was 1941 and the radio stations in our city of Minneapolis were reporting many cases of spinal meningitis. So when I developed a deep chest cough and my temperature spiked, my parents immediately hospitalized me.

The doctor did a painful spinal tap while Mother held my hand. Then two elders entered my room— one was Brother Keairnes from our congregation, and the other was Apostle George G. Lewis. “We’ve come to anoint and pray for you,” said brother Lewis. Let every heart prepare him room.

Tears filled my eyes as brother Lewis’s beautiful heartfelt prayer echoed in my room. My fears slipped away, my heart rejoiced. The report was negative for meningitis, but positive for pneumonia. In a few days I was well enough to return home for continued healing. I was going home for Christmas! And heaven and nature sing.

Laying on of hands for the sick is a beautiful sacrament, one we can readily invite as a blessing for all ages. I praise the Lord for marvelous blessings given through humble servants all along our journey of life. And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing!

Prayer for Peace
Healing God, the expectation of the gift of your son makes us want to sing. Celebration, praise and thanksgiving fill our hearts. Joy shines from faces and bells call us to worship. If only, if only we could know peace this Advent season.

Spiritual Practice for Advent: Peace
Pause amid this busy season and open yourself to be mindful of the source of your life-giving breath. Reflect on where that breath blows you. Pray it leads you in pursuit of peace on Earth. In this short time of reflection, close your eyes, close out the din of the Christmas crowds, and prepare yourself for the coming of the Messiah. If your mind wanders to the commercial clamor, allow God to pull you back to focus on Christ, the center of Christmas. Expose your soul to God’s signature and the writing of the covenant of Christ’s peace on your heart.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will answer the sigh of if only, with a covenant that I will pursue peace.

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