After spending the morning working on a couple of writing assignments, I headed out to visit our shut-ins and bring them their Christmas Gift, i.e. Jesus, who continues to come to us wrapped in the swaddling cloths of His Holy Word and Sacraments. It is always a joy to spend time with these dear children of God and to lead them through the Divine Service. What a blessing it is to speak the same language of the faith. I love hearing them speak back to God what He has spoken to them in the Holy Liturgy. They know it by heart. It is a part of them. It's like being home. And it unites us in a common confession of the faith. I cannot fathom what it would be like to bring Christ to shut-ins without the common language of the Holy Liturgy. I'm sure it can be pulled off, but it simply can't be the same thing as hearing them say, "I, a poor, miserable sinner . . .," "I believe in God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth . . .," "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Sabaoth . . .," "Our Father who art in heaven . . .," "O Christ, Thou Lamb of God . . .," "Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace . . .," and all their "Amens" at the appropriate places. Just another huge reason to keep the Holy Liturgy in tact, seems to me.
I'm also ever so thankful for the Communion Kit I'm blessed to use, which was a gift from our Ladies' Guild upon the anniversary of my first year as pastor at Peace, some four and a half years ago now, and which does a wonderful job of facilitating the reverence the Holy Sacrament of our Lord's Body and Blood surely merits:
After an afternoon with some of our shut-ins, I spent the evening Christmas shopping with Sarah, Sam, and Aaron, which is time together that I cherish, especially since they're growing up so dang fast and I know the day is coming all too soon when we'll be saying, "Hey, remember how we always used to go Christmas shopping together for mom a few days before Christmas?" Time sure does fly, doesn't it? It seems like only yesterday when I was holding them in my arms and changing their diapers. It also seems like yesterday when I used to think, "Why do old people always say, 'It seems like yesterday . . .?'" Anyway, enough of that. We had a blast together. Still have a few things I want to pick up, but we put a major dent in my perpetual last-minute shopping spree. And, we had a great dinner at Red Lobster! I know, livin' large, ain't we? :)
On deck for tomorrow: Write confirmation quiz, visit last two shut-ins, prepare for upcoming Bible Studies, go over sermons and edit as needed, finish shopping, then Children's Christmas Program at 7:00 p.m.