Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Unexpected Encounters

Greetings friends!

Although each year it seems to come more quickly, Christmas has arrived once again. All the familiar sights and sounds of the season are here – my tree is trimmed, Christmas songs are on the radio, and each time I walk into the store I hear the familiar tinkle of the Salvation Army red kettle bell ringer.

After leaving the office today I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few items. As I quickly made my way across the parking lot, I nearly jogged past the festive bell ringer without a look. As I glanced over, though, I found myself doing a double take – it was an old friend whose contagious smile I would know anywhere. I made my way over to say hello and was greeted with a warm hug. This friend and I met in 2002 when I was a college student spending my first summer interning with CSM. He had been a client in drug and alcohol recovery at one of our ministry sites (a shelter and rehabilitation center for men). I’ve seen him periodically over the years, but it has been quite a while since our last meeting. I was so pleased with this opportunity to see that my old friend was doing well, and he was likewise anxious to hear about me and all his old CSM friends. Those kinds of connections never get old - what joy I found this afternoon in that unexpected encounter!

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." Luke 2:8-14

I can only imagine that this group of shepherds didn’t expect to encounter a choir of angels on that quiet night. And they certainly didn’t expect to encounter a tiny baby in a manger - a messiah, a savior, a king.

Let us be watching and waiting this Christmas. In the midst of our busyness, may this season be filled with unexpected encounters. May we slow our steps long enough to encounter the King of Kings. May we be filled with great joy as we see his beauty, rejoice in his nearness and experience the riches of his kingdom.

-Megan Breed, CSM Houston Associate City Director

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