Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: The Reason for the Season of Christmas (12/04/08)
TITLE: Love, Joy, Peace, Life
By Marita Thelander
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We are standing on holy ground,
And I know that there are angels all around,
We are standing on holy ground,
We are standing in His presence, on holy ground.
Zoë-Life, Tivona-Love, Salome-Peace, and Alizah-Joy all hovered at their posts. The four angelic beings had been assigned to protect this flock from the menacing spirits of depression and bitterness.
The worship team quietly left the platform in reverence. The Spirit of God had come to dwell with them this morning. Pastor Jason stood at the podium as the congregation remained hushed. They knew that the Lord had stirred the heart of their shepherd.
“Folks, I believe we have had an angelic visitation here this morning.” Jason glanced around the sanctuary ceiling, “I sense that God has indeed sent His angels and they are all around.”
Jason walked over to the little Christmas tree with the angel tags that hung from brightly colored ribbons. “Christmas can be a rough time for many. It’s easy to get caught up in our own celebrations. These tags represent families that may be sad and lonely this year.”
He paused to look at a few names on the tree. “These people live among us in our community. Military kids, single moms, unemployed mill workers,” Jason fingered the tags. “Here’s a family whose home burned to the ground last summer. Seems so long ago, but they’re still recovering from their losses.”
Jason returned to the podium and set his notes aside. The congregation took careful notice. The sermon he had toiled over would not be used because God had a message relevant for that exact moment. They waited in anticipation to hear the words God had dropped into the heart of the man they had come to love and respect.
“I wanted to speak this morning on the Reason for the Season,” Jason patted his notes, “It’s a nice message, but I believe the Holy Spirit is directing me to say something a bit different.”
Again, Jason glanced around the four corners of the room. Zoë nodded to her companions. This had been why they were sent. The four angelic beings moved in closer to the crowd.
“Today we are going to have a healing service,” Jason announced. “Not physical or even spiritual, but emotional healing. This is the Christmas message God has for us today.”
Jason held the edge of the podium with both hands as he looked among the people. “Where there is strife, God will bring peace.”
Salome took her cue and passed over the crowd. She paused over families she had been assigned to. Husbands took the hands of their wives. A teen girl laid her head on her mother’s shoulder, and women pulled their small fidgety children into their laps with hugs and kisses.”
“Where there is sorrow and loneliness, God wants to bring joy,” Jason continued with fervor.
Alizah shot out of the corner of the room and passed over all who grieved as they faced their first Christmas without a loved one. Widows wiped their eyes. The family that lost their son in Iraq hugged each other tight as Alizah stood behind them.
Jason stood at the edge of the platform. “Hatred has attempted to creep into the hearts of some here today. How can we call ourselves Christians if we have hatred brewing in our midst? God desires to see…no He commands us to love one another this Christmas season.”
Instantly Tivona soared back and forth over the entire congregation. Tears began to flow freely as people saw the need to forgive their brother and sisters in the Lord.
Zoë left her corner, descended over Jason and landed gently on the platform next to the little angel tree.
Jason turned. He could almost see her. There seemed to be a glow around the tree. He grabbed a tag and held it up, “It is our privilege to be used of God to reach among our community, to give of our love, to spread joy, to live in peace with each other.”
Jason began to weep, “John 10:10 tells us that the thief comes to steal, kill and destroy, but I have come that they might have life…and have it more abundantly.”
Jason sobbed unashamed, “Don’t let him steal from us.”
People ran to the front. Many wept at the altar. Others snatched tags from the tree.
Zoë inhaled deep, and exhaled over the room, “Be healed.”
Author’s note: The names of the angelic beings were selected for their Hebrew or Greek meanings. Zoë: Abundant Life (Greek) Tivona: Love (Hebrew) Salome: Peace (Hebrew) Alizah: Joyful (Hebrew)
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