December 16, 2012

Isaiah 12:2-6

“Drawing Water: A Short Reflection after the Christmas Pageant”

This is a day of rejoicing, is it not? We are filled with the joy of being together as a church family, of singing some of our favourite carols and listening once again to the beautiful story of Jesus’ birth. We are filled with joy because our children are beautiful, and talented, and they have shared their gifts with us once again today. Most of all, we are filled with joy because today we are remembering the real Christmas. Details aside, we are remembering and rejoicing in the truth that in Jesus of Nazareth, God became flesh and lived among us. And in Jesus the Christ, we have experienced God’s very presence, love, and grace for us.

The Christmas story has been shared today, in words, and action, and song, so I don’t need to say much more. But I just wanted to briefly draw our attention to the passage from Isaiah 12 that Christine just read for us. The prophet, who shared these words so long ago, was declaring his confidence and trust in God. Despite all the struggles that God’s people were experiencing, the prophet encouraged everyone to trust in God and not to be afraid. That is an encouragement that we also need to hear, again and again and again: “Surely God is our salvation; Let us trust, and not be afraid, for the Lord is our strength and our might; God has become our salvation.”

Whenever I read verse three from this text, a joyful musical setting comes to mind: “You will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.” It seems to me that today we are doing just that. We are drawing water – life-giving, thirst-quenching water – from the well of our shared faith in God. No matter what challenges or stresses or disappointments we may be coping with in our lives, we are gathered here this morning to joyfully draw water that will bring us spiritual refreshment and sustain us for the days ahead.

And as we encourage our children and our grandchildren to learn the stories of our faith, and to pray, and to worship, we are helping them to learn where those wells can be found. We are sharing the good news of God’s love for us in Jesus Christ with them, so that they will be well-equipped in the future to come back and draw water again and again from the wells of our Christian faith.

Isaiah proclaims, “Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be known in all the earth. Shout aloud and sing for joy… for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.” This morning we have raised our voices together to sing praises to God, and we will keep singing together as we celebrate Christmas and Epiphany. Indeed, we will keep singing the whole year through in praise to God and to share our faith with those who might be open to hear.

If you are feeling thirsty these days – thirsty for hope, thirsty for joy, thirsty for meaning and purpose in your life – I pray that this Christmas you will find opportunities to come back to the wells of salvation, and to have your thirst quenched with God’s amazing love for you in Jesus Christ.

Or if you are overflowing with faith and hope and joy this season, I pray that you will find opportunities to sing and to share and to proclaim the source of the hope that you have. A simple invitation to tonight’s Festival of Lessons and Carols, or to another Christmas service might be your neighbour’s opportunity to return to the wells of faith or to drink from them for the first time.

May we all experience and share God’s presence with us in Jesus Christ – Emmanuel.