Today, our 2022 “Journey to Bethlehem”
takes us to Nazareth of Galilee and the
village of Ein Karem, five, six miles in the
Jerusalem foothills. It takes us to the hidden
and mysterious core of the Christmas story: the womb of
the Women in the Story. This is a most holy portion of the
Christmas stories, which we should reverently listen to. The
divine and God-given gifts of life, growth, menstruation,
reception, conception, pregnancy, extension, giving birth,
and nurture from one’s own body. Things the church does
not talk much about, but it should, because in these physical
mysteries of women lies the core of our human spiritual
Christian experience.

Christmas Sabbath communion will be in two weeks:
receiving anew the emblems of God’s presence in us. As
one prepares for a birth, and beyond Christmas morning
gifts preparation, we are invited to prepare to receive that

By “examining our lives:”
Our relationship with the Lord
and with one another.

Unintentional glitches are an unavoidable part of life.
“Examining oneself” means recognizing and addressing them.
But instead of encouraging communication, our human
“Christian” culture often tells us to be quiet, “friendly” and
“polite” thus suppressing or avoiding truth which alone can
free. This course of non-action, avoidance, (and often
sharing with the wrong person) can lead to greater harm—
low-grade relational infections (all the way down to spiritual
sepsis) in our own selves, others, and the body of Christ.
So, the preparation symbolized by the foot washing service
is meant to regularly cleanse our hearts, lives, relationships,
and church through receiving, accepting, and extending the
gracious overlooking of Christ.

Some may be unable to participate in foot-washing or to
partake of the emblems in-person. But let all prepare for
Christmas Sabbath Communion and the New Year. Follow
the Holy Spirit’s lead. Don’t wait for the other to take the
first step. Pick up the phone, have a heart conversation with
the sister or brother who’s “offended” you or who may
have “ought against you.” In the safety of God’s protection,
take courage to speak the truth in love and let God
incarnate on earth His divine gift of accepting, overlooking
and loving. Our heavenly Father wants us to start the New
Year with a clean page and He’s at work to help us prepare
to accept the yearly reminder, the quarterly emblems, and
the daily blessing of His Divine Presence in our lives:

“Christ in us,”