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Burdens, Yokes, and Rest

Matthew 11:28-30 Have an independent streak when it comes to doing things? "I can manage this workload myself." "I won't wait for help; I can move this heavy furniture across the room." What does that get you? Pride in taking credit for the work? Satisfaction you redecorated by yourself? Couple that with resentful coworkers or an aching back, and what have you really gain...

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He Knows Our Need

O Holy Night Matthew 11:28 I should have kept a tally of how many times I listened to O Holy Night in preparation for this week's Connect Devotional. I listened to various artists sing it in many different styles; I listened while driving, while walking the dog, and while sitting on the porch watching the kids play. It's a song I've enjoyed at Christmas time my whole l...

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Come!

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). This week we're listening to "O Holy Night" and to a familiar passage from Matthew 11. The title of our current sermon series, The Weary World Rejoices, is a line from the hymn. One of the gifts of our times is the ease with which we can access all kinds of versions of this hymn; so ...

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Present or Absent?

Ocome, O come, Emmanuel,/And ransom captive Israel That mourns in lonely exile here/Until the Son of God appear. Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel/Shall come to thee, O Israel. As a teacher I take attendance every day. However, remote learning has thrown off my record-keeping. On my attendance sheet these days, I've added markers for "video off" and "technology issues" to the ...

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"God With Us"

Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too" (Luke 2:34,35). I remember when Mary's part in the Christmas story came alive to me: I was halfway th...

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Melancholy in a Minor Key

"'For my [Simeon's] eyes have seen your salvation...a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and the glory of your people Israel...And a sword will pierce your [Mary's] soul too'" (Luke 2:30,32,35b). "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, / And ransom captive Israel Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel / Shall come to thee, O Israel." This is my favorite Christmas carol. I love its beautiful ...

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Waiting

O come, Thou Dayspring, come and cheer/Our spirits by Thine advent here, O drive away the shades of night/And pierce the clouds and bring us light. ("O Come, O Come Emmanuel," 12th century Latin hymn.) Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout.He was waiting for the consolation of Israel and the Holy Spirit was upon him (Luke 2:25). L...

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In Between

"O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" Luke 2:25-35 We are in in-between times, aren't we? In between Thanksgiving and Christmas, in between Election Day and Inauguration Day, in between the start of the pandemic and its longed-for end. Some of us are in between jobs, or in between a diagnosis and a hoped-for cure, in between our desire to be with family and friends and the recommen...

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A Marching Band of Believers

Colossians 3:5-14 In high school I was a member of the marching band, and after summer band camp we were all issued identical uniforms. The uniforms came with standard care instructions and also instructions on how to conduct ourselves when wearing them. The expectations were that we would be at our very best behavior when wearing the uniform. The uniforms identified us a...

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A Life-Changing Wardrobe

Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. (Colossians 3:12, 14) I've been six feet tall since I was 13 years old. I grew up 60 miles from the nearest mall, too, so you can imagine the challe...

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