Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. 19 And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20 But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel”
(which means, God with us). 24 When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, 25 but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Hymn: O Little Town of Bethlehem (congregational)
O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.
For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth!
How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.
O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!
This is not so much related to our specific place in time as it is to being the church. I have written about ways to give financially to more global issues, but changing the world also happens right where you are, in serving your community. This could be helping the homeless. Volunteering at pregnancy resource centers. Inviting neighbors over for a meal. Supporting a single mother. Opening your life and your home to be a tool for healing the needs around you, whether the needy are believers or unbelievers. Hospitality is a command in the Bible (Romans 12:9-13, 1 Peter 4:9, Hebrews 13:2). Are you practicing it?
In all of this, remember what our greatest need: not our problems being taken away, but for God to be with us. Let meeting the physical needs around us be an opportunity to share the eternal hope we have in Christ!
– a sermon on hospitality
Also, know that you don’t have to have a home to be hospitable or serve others in this way. Help others feel welcomed and loved wherever you or they are.
– For the needs of your local community
– For wisdom to know how you can be involved in helping meet those needs – and then act on it!