December 25, 2013

Rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing

By Gwen Gustafson-Zook, minister of worship
SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 2:10-18 (NRSV)

Into a weary world bombarded with news of injustice and environmental degradation and hatred and war and violence and greed and exploitation and fear, Christ comes. Innocent. Vulnerable. Beautiful.

If I listen closely, I hear the echo of angels: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace to all God’s friends.” The words of the familiar carol resonate in my mind as “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” paints a musical picture of angels appearing through cloven skies with peaceful wings unfurled offering hope to a weary world:

Yet with the woes of sin and strife, the world has suffered long;
Beneath the heav’nly hymn have rolled two thousand years of wrong,
And warring humankind hears not the tidings which they bring.
O hush the noise and cease your strife and hear the angels sing.

And you, beneath life’s crushing load, whose forms are bending low,
who toil along the climbing way with painful steps and slow;
Look now! For glad and glorious hours come swiftly on the wing,
O rest beside the weary road, and hear the angels sing.

The angels have spoken: Christ has come. The bread has been made. The wassel has been shared. May we, this day of celebration and hope, find the space to “rest beside the weary road and hear the angels sing.”


Merry Christmas and thank you for joining us in this season of hope for a weary world. Our hope is that you have found sustenance for your journey by joining with others along the way. We invite you to join us again during the season of Lent. Until then, may God’s presence surround you and God’s love sustain you as you live into the reality of Christ with us.

SCRIPTURE: Hebrews 2:10-18 (NRSV)
It was fitting that God, for whom and through whom all things exist, in bringing many children to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through sufferings. For the one who sanctifies and those who are sanctified all have one Father. For this reason Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters, saying,
“I will proclaim your name to my brothers and sisters,
in the midst of the congregation I will praise you.”
And again,
“I will put my trust in him.’
And again,
‘Here am I and the children whom God has given me.”
Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.



Comments (11)

  1. Beautifully written Gwen.

    Tim Yoder December 25, 2013 |
  2. Thank you, Gwen! Good words for me today.

    rosettas December 25, 2013 |
  3. Thank You Goshen College for your call to remember daily the truth of Christmas and the greatest gift we are given.

    Rene Pauls December 25, 2013 |
  4. Once again I have been richly blessed by these devotions during Advent. May God continue to bless the students and staff of Goshen College in all that you do!

    Judith Sherk December 25, 2013 |
  5. Thanks to all of you who took the time to write these meaningful devotions this year. I am blessed! May God bless each of you!

    Elizabeth Yoder December 25, 2013 |
  6. Yes, thank you, Gwen, for this meaningful Christmas day meditation. Grateful for all of God’s ministers of peace and reconcilition at work in the world today, Wilma Shank

    Wilma Shank December 25, 2013 |
  7. Thanks for this annual series. It is a welcome intrusion into life that is filled with business and cares. Jack

    Jack December 25, 2013 |
  8. Thanks to all the contributors. We were blessed to attend Albuquerque Mennonite Church on the third Sunday of Advent and today on Christmas Day. This is a congregation that speaks well for what the Christian Church should be.

    Is it time to begin a year round devotion site?

    Norm Morford December 25, 2013 |
  9. Thank you for the advent devotions.

    Elaine Unruh December 25, 2013 |
  10. Thank you, and God bless. This sentence sticks out to me: “so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery……

    jacqueline December 27, 2013 |
  11. Thank you, friends, for all the devotional moments you have shared with me during this season. We all live such busy lives but I often try to steal a moment to read and ponder your shared thoughts. I am usually rewarded with a glimpse of a higher reality, a sense of grace or a spark of hope amid the confusion and noise that more generally surrounds me. Thanks for all your work for us and for God’s Kingdom.

    Robert December 29, 2013 |