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From The Chaplain's Desk
From The Chaplain's Desk: Prepare ye the way of the Lord

By Charles Dimmick, CT State Grange Chaplain

  December 5, 2015 --

The musical “Godspell” begins with the blowing of the ram’s horn, the shofar, immediately followed by John the Baptist singing “Prepare ye the way of the Lord.” This beautifully sets the tone for the musical which follows. It also sets the tone for Advent, the four weeks preceding Christmas. Christmas, the coming of God Incarnate in the form of a new-born babe, is best appreciated if properly prepared for. We should carefully set the stage, both in our minds and our hearts, for the arrival of Emmanuel, God with us.

If we were expecting a visit from a favorite aunt or an old dear friend we would certainly make preparations, whether it be freshening the guest room, stocking the pantry, or just cleaning the house and putting things in order. In preparing to welcome the Christ Child we also need to make suitable arrangements.  But in this care the arrangements we need to make are different. It is our internal house we need to put in order, the house that dwells within us rather than the house we dwell within. Too many times we let the holiday frenzy, the shopping, the meal planning, even the extra activity of church bazaars and Christmas pageants get in the way of meditating on the real meaning of Christmas.

On what should we meditate? The first Christmas occurred a long time ago. As we prepare for another celebration of that great event let us look both backwards and forwards: look back upon that great miracle of the birth of our Savior and forwards to the time of Christ’s second coming in glory at the end of the ages. Let us give thanks to God for both of these. Next let us meditate on the coming of Christ as the fulfillment of the promises made in ancient time to Abraham that through him “all nations on earth will be blessed.” This promise of a savior yet to come was repeated to Israel by many of the prophets. Most of you remember Isaiah saying: For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called WONDERFUL, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. And at last this child WAS born, in the little town of Bethlehem, in Judea.

Thirdly, let us meditate on what it will mean when Christ comes again in glory. In the Revelation to John we read: “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

And lastly, let us give thanks to God for the miracle of the Incarnation, in which God himself humbled himself to come to us in human form as a newborn babe, so that God might dwell among us. Thanks and praise be to God.


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