Shepherd of Israel,
may Jesus, Emmanuel and son of Mary,
be more than just a dream in our hearts.
With the apostles, prophets, and saints,
save us, restore us,
and lead us in the way of grace and peace,
that we may bear your promise into the world. Amen.
1 Samuel 2:1-10
And Hannah prayed and said,
“My heart exults in the Lord;
my horn is exalted in the Lord.
My mouth derides my enemies,
because I rejoice in your salvation.
2 “There is none holy like the Lord:
for there is none besides you;
there is no rock like our God.
3 Talk no more so very proudly,
let not arrogance come from your mouth;
for the Lord is a God of knowledge,
and by him actions are weighed.
4 The bows of the mighty are broken,
but the feeble bind on strength.
5 Those who were full have hired themselves out for bread,
but those who were hungry have ceased to hunger.
The barren has borne seven,
but she who has many children is forlorn.
6 The Lord kills and brings to life;
he brings down to Sheol and raises up.
7 The Lord makes poor and makes rich;
he brings low and he exalts.
8 He raises up the poor from the dust;
he lifts the needy from the ash heap
to make them sit with princes
and inherit a seat of honor.
For the pillars of the earth are the Lord’s,
and on them he has set the world.
9 “He will guard the feet of his faithful ones,
but the wicked shall be cut off in darkness,
for not by might shall a man prevail.
10 The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken to pieces;
against them he will thunder in heaven.
The Lord will judge the ends of the earth;
he will give strength to his king
and exalt the horn of his anointed.”
In the in between, the now and not yet, it can appear that things are out of control. It can seem that life has gone off the rails. Trouble can come pressing in our each side. We are harried and worried and pushed on and it seems to be no fault of our own.
Or it could be our own entire fault. Our bad decisions have put us on a downward spiral with no view of the bottom. We have burned bridges and broken relationships. We have chosen unwisely and spoken rashly in situations; posturing to make ourselves look and feel better.
Merry Christmas, right? Joy and merriment for all. In the midst of the pain and trouble we see promise. God is in control. He is the all-knowing, all powerful, all loving One who has it in His plan. It does not feel like it. It is hard to see the possibility. But He is there and knows what He is doing. He raises us up and sets us in honour. Not for ourselves but for His good pleasure.