Pause

Breathe in this good news of great joy! Take a deep breath.

For you….yes, YOU, Jesus was born. A savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.

The light shines in the darkness and the darkness does not overcome it.

Keep breathing, in praise to our God who makes all things new this Christmas season.

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Listen

Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord from heaven! Praise God on the heights! Praise God, all of you who are his messengers! Praise God, all of you who comprise his heavenly forces! Sun and moon, praise God! All of you bright stars, praise God! You highest heaven, praise God! Do the same, you waters that are above the sky! Let all of these praise the Lord’s name because God gave the command and they were created! God set them in place always and forever. God made a law that will not be broken.

Psalm 148:1-6

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Think

A psalm with 10 exclamation points, you got to love that! It is an expression of exuberant praise. It reminds me of Christmas in Cuba. There was no internet and no cell phones but lots of music. Our partner church greeted with kisses and the dancing began. Out in the streets there were more celebrations and dancing all through the holidays. Praise was offered to God for breath, love, life, and new day. We were invited into homes for shared conversation, a cup of coffee, laughter, and a prayer of thanksgiving for our faith family.

I learned something very important. Joy is more than a feeling, it is a way of moving through the world.

I am so afraid of what others might think that I don’t allow myself to offer that exuberant praise or love. As people of faith, moments of intense joy are best expressed in a worshipful activity before God. Dancing. Singing. Laughing. It is the implicit call of Psalm 148. A call to join together in praise that is life-giving, adoring, and joy filled. It is a call to move through this life with joy.

Michelle Thomas-Bush

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Pray

In gratitude, for this moment for this breath, I come to you.

God, empty me of petty criticisms, Breathe into me acceptance and compassion for myself and my neighbor.

Take away the need to appear perfect.

Breathe into me your love.

Amen.

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Go

Take a deep breath and be present every moment of every day of 2021.

Love with intention. Be the Church.

Practice radical hospitality. Celebrate others.

May the grace of God fill your days so that you cannot help but respond to all of life with exuberant joy!

Michelle Thomas-Bush

Michelle Thomas-Bush is the associate pastor for youth and their families at Myers Park Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, NC. Michelle has two teenagers and a husband that have kept her laughing during these strange COVID-days.

Sing We Now of Christmas

Nathan Hanson

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