Bethel CRC Lacombe


December 14, 2021 Pastor Jake Boer
Bethel CRC Lacombe
Show Notes Transcript

Blue Christmas service. This special time of worship is for those who are finding the Christmas season difficult. Join us as we reflect on Jesus as our peace, and we light the candles to offer hope to those who are mourning and weary.

He Will Be Our Peace - Blue Christmas Service

Micah 5:2-5a

December 12, 2021


Christmas is coming and for most people that’s something to look forward to. People are filled with anticipation, eagerness, and a sense of hope because we may even be able to gather with a small group of friends and family again over the Christmas season. Beautiful bright lights and decorations, along with cheerful Christmas music is found everywhere we go. Yet somehow for some of us, the joy and cheerfulness all around us can’t really make through into our hearts and lives. Some of us find ourselves wishing we could join in with the celebrations going on all around us, but the weight, the pressures, the losses and grief many of us have experienced this past year or so prevent us from feeling it, and many of us would simply like to retreat from all the festivities because it’s too hard right now.

The prophet Micah is writing to the Jewish people, warning them that God’s unhappy with them. God’s unhappy because there’s so much injustice going on, so many vulnerable people being taken advantage of, so many people getting hurt by those who were only concerned about themselves and what others can do for them to help them have an easy life. These were dark and hard times for so many of the Jewish people. God hears the cries of the widows, the orphans, the poor and others who are going through hard times and those who could make a difference were only looking out for themselves. This is why God sends the prophet Micah to challenge the oppressors and call them back to who God’s calling them to be as his people, and to bring hope to those being oppressed, letting them know that God cares deeply for them. 

Through Micah, God promises a son who will be like a shepherd to his people, a shepherd who will protect his people, provide for his people, and will guide his people into peace, into shalom. This is a big word with a whole lot of depth and meaning. What the people who are hurting hear the prophet Micah say is that God is sending a shepherd who is going to bring peace, quiet, tranquility, contentment, health, and prosperity. God’s telling them that he cares and he knows their aching hearts and what they’re looking for, hope and new life. 

Most of us here this evening have experienced loss or hurt this past year, or a deep pain in the past we’re still mourning, and we need a place, a moment to come to God and tell him that we’re hurting and we need some healing, we want the tears and the ache to stop, or at least get less so we can move through our days and weeks with hope again. My father went home to the Lord this year, and for a number of reasons, we were unable to hold a ceremony for him, it’s delayed until spring. The ache goes on. The economy is still hard and many are finding it stressful to just get by, the pandemic has strained many friendships, and loneliness is the new pandemic. Our hearts ache, our souls are tired, and we’re looking for hope.

Christmas and all its celebrations are hard, but it’s in what we remember at Christmas that brings hope, comfort and peace; God comes to earth as a child in the person of Jesus. Jesus comes as the son that Israel was waiting for, the shepherd who will provide for and protect his sheep. Jesus comes to experience life as we live it, in the chaos and messiness of family with its joys and stresses, he experiences rejection and loneliness, he experiences sorrow when loved ones die, he knows our hearts because he became one of us and knows what we need, what we’re looking for. 

When you’re feeling sorrow, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, Jesus reaches out to you and invites to come to him for rest, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Accept Jesus’ invitation to rest, close your eyes and tell Jesus, “Here I am, tired, afraid, and hurting. Hold me close, let me feel your peace, and give me strength for the days, weeks, and months ahead.” May you experience his peace. 

Jesus doesn’t come with might and power, he comes from a small insignificant people, from a simple regular family, just as we do and he comes to walk with us and offer healing, rest, and strength with gentleness and compassion. Jesus comes with arms open, tears in his eyes, and an ache in his heart for you. Jesus knows your ache, and even in the ache, he can bring you comfort and peace. May you experience his peace this Christmas.