The World Prayed for Me

How beautiful upon the mountains
are the feet of the messenger who announces peace,
who brings good news,
who announces salvation,
who says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns.’
Listen! Your sentinels lift up their voices,
together they sing for joy;
for in plain sight they see
the return of the Lord to Zion.
Break forth together into singing,
you ruins of Jerusalem;
for the Lord has comforted his people,
he has redeemed Jerusalem.
The Lord has bared his holy arm
before the eyes of all the nations;
and all the ends of the earth shall see
the salvation of our God.

—Isaiah 52: 7-10

Christ is here. We celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, Emmanuel, God with us! As we celebrate God’s presence among us, the incarnation of our Lord, we are charged with spreading the Good News. “Go tell it on the mountain, that Jesus Christ is born!” we sing, but many of us would like to be silent. After the busy-ness of Christmas is over many of us would like to climb into the protective shells of our beds, pull the covers up over our heads and hibernate until Easter. But God calls us to be ‘messengers.’ That means we GO and TELL!

But, we should be relieved to know, we are not the only messengers proclaiming the glory of God! God’s amazing work is everywhere! In the ruins of Jerusalem, in the eyes of all nations, to the ends of the earth. Let us proclaim the love of God to the world, and as we do, may we be witness to the world proclaiming Gods’ glory to us!

i went to the top of the world
to offer up my prayer.
i came with a collection
of concerns and worries
problems and everyday pains
i went to the top of the world to pray
and instead the world prayed for me.
i heard it in the wind
pounding in my right ear
and a gentle guitarsong whistling in my left.
i heard it in the language of the crickets,
calling and answering from either side of the path.
i heard it in each footstep that followed me,
or was I following them?
i heard it in the passing of the cars on the highway.
i heard it in the silent tears of strangers.

i went to the top of the world to pray
and instead,
the world prayed for me.

***

Rev. Dr. Krista S. Givens is a native of Southern California, where she began her work experience as an artist. She achieved her Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Art from Scripps College in 1994. Her call from God occurred rather suddenly in 1998 and God provided a path to attend seminary. Krista is a proud graduate of the Claremont School of Theology achieving her Masters of Divinity in 2001 and her Doctor of Ministry degree in 2007. Her doctoral thesis was centered in Ethics and pertains to the disciplinary rule for single pastors to be celibate and is titled: A Choice for Whole Love: Single and Celibate in the United Methodist Church. Krista’s previous appointments include an Associate Pastor position to the congregation of Kailua United Methodist Church in Kailua, Hawaii and a Senior Pastor position to the congregation of Westchester United Methodist Church in Los Angeles. She was ordained as an Elder in the California-Pacific Annual Conference in 2005 and has been the pastor at Hamburg’s International United Methodist Church since 2007.

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Mr. Santa Chase

Nevertheless, those who receive instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor. Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. People reap what they sow. Those who sow to please their sinful nature, from that nature will reap destruction; those who sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Galatians 6: 6-10 (TNIV)

I was seven years old when Santa Claus appeared on my doorstep-long white beard, skinnier than I imagined and dressed in ‘normal clothes’ (perhaps he was going incognito for Christmas morning). But there he was! Carrying a package just for me!

My parents were delighted and looked relieved, and I was overjoyed to receive a handmade SASHA doll that Christmas! What a joyful day!

Charles Chase, aka SantaAs I grew up, I recognized Santa Claus in our small town. He worked in a shop called the Folk Music Center and was known-in his Claremont, California home as Mr. Chase. Mr. Chase (my Santa) made appearances throughout the year at the shop that sold those special dolls, along with guitars, ukuleles, banjos and drums, music from all over the world and the most fascinating coloring books I’d ever seen. The Folk Music Center, I imagined, was the southern California outpost of Santa’s Workshop, specializing in all-things-hippy.

Later in my life I heard the story from my parents’ perspective. As they were doing their Christmas shopping at the Southern California outpost of the Santa’s Workshop. they mistakenly picked up the display model container without the doll inside. They did not realize the container was empty until Christmas Eve when they were wrapping up the gifts for the grand unveiling on Christmas morning. Panicked, they phoned Santa at his home late Christmas Eve and asked him for some help. Instead of a cranky daughter who would open an empty package on Christmas morn, they woke to a delighted and amazed little girl who’d been privileged to a personal visit from Santa himself.

Mr. Chase, in his decision to help out a frazzled and panicked set of young parents, is the embodiment of Paul’s words in Galatians 6: 9-10:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

If we sow the seeds of love, joy, peace and hope in the busy holiday season, we will reap the harvest of the gospel of Jesus Christ! Conversely, if we sow the seeds of anxiety, distraction, stress and dysfunction, we will reap the harvest born of those negative things.

In our franticness and stress have we given up trying to do good? When does our activity become a spiritual detriment? How can we be the embodiment of the good news for others this season?

***

Rev. Dr. Krista S. Givens is a native of Southern California, where she began her work experience as an artist. She achieved her Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Art from Scripps College in 1994. Her call from God occurred rather suddenly in 1998 and God provided a path to attend seminary. Krista is a proud graduate of the Claremont School of Theology achieving her Masters of Divinity in 2001 and her Doctor of Ministry degree in 2007. Her doctoral thesis was centered in Ethics and pertains to the disciplinary rule for single pastors to be celibate and is titled: A Choice for Whole Love: Single and Celibate in the United Methodist Church. Krista’s previous appointments include an Associate Pastor position to the congregation of Kailua United Methodist Church in Kailua, Hawaii and a Senior Pastor position to the congregation of Westchester United Methodist Church in Los Angeles. She was ordained as an Elder in the California-Pacific Annual Conference in 2005 and has been the pastor at Hamburg’s International United Methodist Church since 2007.