They Said Yes!
It occurred to me that the Christmas story is a story of people saying YES. Yes to a plan, yes to Gods plan. It was a plan they didn’t understand, they didn’t know how the plan would end. Nevertheless, they trusted in God’s plan and they knew they were called by God to take an active part in it.
Dressed in his camel hair coat and snacking on crunchy locust, John the Baptist said yes! John said yes to proclaiming a baptism of repentance and of forgiveness. John said yes to pointing the way to the One who was yet to come, Jesus; John said yes! (Mark 1:1-8)
A man of simple means was engaged. Now this man, Joseph had no relations with the woman soon to be his wife and yet to Joseph’s shock and surprise the woman was found to be pregnant. Seeking to do the right thing Joseph made plans to quietly dismiss the woman. That was until in a dream, a heavenly messenger shared with Joseph a plan, God’s plan. The angel had a message for Joseph; the child was conceived of the Holy Spirit. Joseph was told to put his trust in God, to take the woman as his wife and to name the baby Jesus. You know what happened, Joseph said to yes to God’s plan. (Matthew 1:18-25)
One day a young peasant woman named Mary was visited by an angel. “Greetings favored one” was the angels greeting. Shocked and surprised the angel shared God’s plan, “You will have a Son and you are to name him Jesus he will be the Son of the Most High and his Kingdom will have no end.” Mary was perplexed. Perplexed may be an understatement. But the point is this courageous young woman said yes, actually what Mary said was more than a yes, what Mary said was, “Here I am a servant of the Lord, let it be with me according to your word.” (Luke 1:26-55).
The story of Christmas is a story of God saying yes. Yes to dwelling among the people. Yes to experiencing what it means to be human. Yes to grace, forgiveness and love. But God also chose to work through God’s people. People who didn’t always understand what God was up to but nevertheless trusted in God’s plan and said yes. Scripture is filled with people who couldn’t understand what God had in mind but they still said yes.
God is still at work through God’s people and although we don’t always understand God’s plan people are saying yes to God’s plan today.
We Say Yes!
Recently I read a story of someone who said yes to God’s plan. Violet Little is Pastor of The Welcome Church in Philadelphia. Pastor Little founded the Welcome Church, a new ELCA ministry that serves the homeless.
After she got to know people who were sleeping and washing at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station, Pastor Little began to work with people experiencing homelessness. She first organized a drop in center at Lutheran Church of the Holy Communion known as the Welcome Center. The Welcome Center offers people a safe place to nap, have coffee or tea, read a book and more. As the Welcome Center grew support came from the Southeastern Pennsylvania Synod of the ELCA and from neighboring churches.
The Welcome Center is a mobile church. Worship services are spontaneous and take place in public areas. Many of the downtown churches also offer Bible study, food and medical care. “These people are hungry for more than a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich” Pastor Little said.
2000 years ago, John, Joseph and Mary said yes to God’s plan and the Savior of the world was born. Scripture is filled with the stories of people, who don’t always understand or don’t feel adequate in serving, and yet they say yes. God has a plan for you! I can’t tell you what that plan is; I can tell you through prayer and talking with others God will help you discern his call.
Christmas peace and blessings,