Softly now. Softly. Walk with care; handle the stuff of life with gentle hands.

Settle slowly into your chair and seek the stillness. The child is coming and your heart will not be fully warmed until you see him.

Softly now. Softly he comes. Handle the stuff of eternity with the gentlest of hands.

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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

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One of my favorite Christmas tunes is “Better Days” by the the Goo Goo Dolls:

And you ask me what I want this year
And I try to make this kind and clear.
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days
Cause I don't need boxes wrapped in strings
And designer love and empty things;
Just a chance that maybe we'll find better days.

The prophet Isaiah encourages the Israelites to joyfully lift up their voices to the sovereign God who brings peace and redemption for all. Salvation and better days are arriving in the form of a child — a gift more magnificent than any shiny present.

Andy Acton

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God, you are about to change our lives for the better. Help me use my voice to proclaim your arrival in the world. Amen.

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Eternity has whispered your name
And so you have waited,
Waited with great anticipation
While preparing yourself for the coming of God's great gift.

Now the gift is near.
Waiting is almost over.
The anticipated arrival is close at hand
And your preparation is soon accomplished.

Andy Acton

Andy Acton is the associate pastor for youth and mission and outreach at Pleasant Hill Presbyterian Church in Duluth, Georgia. Andy lives with his wife Elizabeth, their 5-year-old daughter Katie, their newborn son Davis, his mother-in-law, two Labradors, and a cat.

Once in Royal David's City

Jim Morgan

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