The Shepherd’s Vigil, 11/17/21

Grace and peace to you from the one who is and was and is coming.         Rev. 1:4b

“Hey”, “how you doing”, “good to see you”.  These are just a few of the ways we great each other but do they really mean anything?  How would we respond if we greeted an acquaintance with “how you doing” and then they went into a long discourse on how they felt and what was going on in their life?  Said with compassion to a friend opens the door for deep conversation.  Said to someone in passing has little meaning.

The greetings in the letters of the New Testament often start with a blessing.  “Grace and Peace to you” are the words of a loving desire to bless the recipient of the letter.  The Christian greeting was to offer a blessing; the desire was that the other would receive and experience the goodness of God.  The greeting becomes an act of generosity in the Christian community.

When we give by any means in any way it is an act of blessing another.  When we give food in one of the feeling programs it is so the other is blessed.  When we give money to the church it is to bless and encourage others.    Others are blessed when we give generously. Plus, we are healthier and happier when we give.  I think that is why we enjoy this time of year; we like blessing others.

We put out the decorations for thanksgiving and lights on the house for Christmas so that others are blessed.  We exchange gifts so that others are blessed.  Wishing “grace and peace” on someone is blessing them with the assurance of the presence and goodness of God. 

Let the generosity flow this year and do not greet people with a mere “happy holidays” or “Merry Christmas” out of routine and repetition.  But offer them a deep felt ‘grace and peace to you’, then pray for them and give generously so that others may truly be blessed.

Grace and Peace to you friends,

Pastor Rafe