Today’s Reading: John 18:18(NIV)
18 It was cold, and the servants and officials stood around a fire they had made to keep warm. Peter also was standing with them, warming himself.
Winter has arrived in St. Charles, and the temperatures have dropped significantly in the last week. We kept a fire going in the fireplace Saturday to help warm the great room of the parsonage. There is nothing quite like a fire to help us stay warm in the cold of winter.
I received a very special Christmas present yesterday. Each year, I look forward to that special gift. I never know where it will come from or who will give it to me. Somehow, the present seems to catch me unaware until the moment that it happens. Yet, when it does, I recognize both the gift and the giver. I was helping lead worship yesterday at Faith Church. We were participating in a beautiful Christmas carol liturgy, celebrating the remembrance of the Last Supper in Holy Communion. I was holding the tray of juice for those who came forward to receive the communion elements. I bent down to serve a young child, who had come forward with his mother. He took the bread and juice and went to the altar to pray. As the line continued, I felt a tug on my skirt. Looking down, the boy quietly said, “Could I please have some more?” Smiling, I softly said, “You can have as much as you want.” And with that, he took another cup of juice. The heart of child will always ask for more. We can learn from the children. It is possible that he was simply thirsty and hungry. What better food to give him than the eternal food of Jesus Christ? The look on his innocent face and the simplicity of his request warmed my heart on a cold winter’s day. This is the one gift I will cherish throughout the holidays.
As Peter stood outside in the cold, warming himself by the night fire, I wonder if he was thinking back to the last meal he ate with His Master in the Upper Room. Did the bread and wine become real to him in that moment, as he stood in a cold and lonely courtyard, surrounded by strangers, waiting for news of Jesus? Did the Son’s sacrifice prompt Peter to long for yet another taste of everlasting life?
In this cold world, we find our hearts strangely warmed by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit, in the fire and food. Christ invites all of us to the table for more. Where will you find that one perfect Christmas gift? Give the gift of life! Give them Jesus.
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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