What would Jesus do… for Christmas? I’ve been thinking about this since our church Christmas dinner on the weekend. It was a great time – delicious food, good to catch up and visit with some people, really fun to sing carols and enjoy decorations. We also had a sermon. The message itself was good – “don’t miss the invisible” by giving into stress over Christmas. Don’t get caught up in busyness, because when you are stressed and agitated you feel nasty, and that’s not Christmassy! The speaker (God bless him) took longer than I would have to get his point across.

There was nothing revolutionary in this sermon, and since I have The Irresistible Revolution fresh in my brain, revolutionary is what I am really craving from church. I would like to see/join Christians in doing something ridiculous and/or unexpected for the gospel, that Jesus would shine his light through us. That sermons would call for something a bit more tangible than praying “Dear Jesus, there is room for you in our Christmas.” Something like… talk to people at the mall until you find someone who is alone for the holidays and invite them home for a meal. Maybe not the big family meal with presents, but a meal. Maybe buy some new hats, gloves, even coats
and donating them to our fabulous community services center so they can be given to someone who is cold. By the end of the sermon, it felt a bit like we should be proud of ourselves for saying Merry Christmas instead of Happy Holidays, and try not to get stressed out with all the shopping because we need to be kind. We do need to be kind! But Jesus didn’t come to earth to let people budge in front of him at Walmart.

~*~ Up to this point has been thoughts I wrote down yesterday afternoon. Little did I know that God was working out an answer to this unintentional prayer. Matt and I went to our first pastoral hospital visit last night.

A nurse from the ICU at Scarborough General Hospital had called the church that afternoon because a family had requested a baptist pastor to come and pray with them and their son (in his 40s I think) who had been given hours to live. Our senior pastor doesn’t have a phone, so Matt sent him a couple emails but didn’t hear anything back, and it was still on his mind when he got home around 8:30pm. We chatted about our days and tied string onto some ornaments so we could finish decorating our tree. He was about to get in the shower when he decided to just call the hospital and see if anyone had some to see the family. Nobody had. And Matt said that in that moment his heart broke – people needed someone to come be with them, and nobody was coming. Roads were bad; they couldn’t be reached; so sorry we can’t help.

So he spoke to the mother and explained that he wasn’t the senior pastor, but he was on staff at the church and he would come to the hospital if it would help. He called up our friend Stuart (who was also planning to shower but kept being distracted by little things until we called), and Stuart drove us to the hospital. We had prayed in the elevator going down to get picked up, that we wouldn’t be afraid or intimidated because we were just trying to bring God, to be ambassadors for Jesus to people who felt afraid and alone, it wasn’t that we could really do anything.

So we got there, and the mom introduced us, and we all put on gowns over our clothes and gloves and masks and held hands in a circle around this guy’s bed and prayed. Matt was a lot younger than they expected for a pastor; I don’t know what they thought of me. But after we prayed, Matt then me, then Matt then me, everyone said thank you very much and that it was beautiful and they appreciated our coming. I felt very humble that they would join hands with us and pray and let us into their fear and grief, and I hope that it wasn’t just beautiful words they heard. I hope they realized they were participating in intercession for their brother and son and friend to God.

Most of the people left, then it was just Matt and I, the mom and a cousin – two women who were the only believers in the group, and we prayed again, the four of us hugging. I felt in that moment like communion had come to life – we were four people from three denominations (four even, lol if you count mine and Matt’s backgrounds instead of our membership right now), lifting up one prayer to our Father, and strength and hope and grief were flowing around us, and it was all very rich and good.

I think that Matt and I were the ones God wanted to send that night, not only because it happened that way. And it was a beautiful answer to my prayer that Jesus would shine his love through me. I pray that God will do that for more and more people in our church, and that he would keep doing it for us!! Because it is great.

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Susan 15-12-2010, 14:28

This was the exact thing I got so hooked on 2 years ago after I realized I was loved! There is unequaled joy/satisfaction/sense of purpose/relationship from joining God in the work He's doing in people's lives! There's absolutely nothing like it even when it's difficult or sad and I definitely would love to live more of that. It's always just outside of our comfort zone though, isn't it…


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