Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Promise for Christmas

Jaroslav Vajda is not a familiar name for many of us. Vajda died last year, I think, but not before he wrote some of the best hymn texts I know. "God of the Sparrow" is probably the Vajda hymn most people know. "Go, My Children, With My Blessing" is another one of which I never tire. One of his Christmas hymns reminds me of a promise that gives this season meaning and buoys me up with hope. The hymn is called "Where Shepherds Lately Knelt." The first stanza reads:

Where shepherds lately knelt and kept the angel's word
I come in half belief, a pilgrim strangely stirred.
But there is room and welcome there for me.
But there is room and welcome there for me.

The Christmas story is so familiar to most of us that we don't think nearly enough about it. If we do pause to think about the mystery of incarnation, we are bound to find things that stretch our ability to believe. Virgin birth? God in human form? One child who will change the world? All this has something to do with my life today? You can add your own questions to these that pop in to my mind.

I'm grateful that we don't have to be overly careful about what we ask God, at Christmas or any other time. If half-belief and strange stirrings are all we bring, bring them to God, who will not turn us away, but will invite us into a relationship that will provide opportunities for questioning and for growing.

There is room and welcome there for me. Thanks be to God.

1 comment:

Christopher Joiner said...

I love his hymn texts and have you to thank for putting me on to him years ago. Such rich content! He will be missed.