Prayer: Dear God of all, thank you for loving us. Each and every one of us. Help us in our loneliness and gather us together and to you. Amen.
Reading: Zephaniah 3: 14-20 (Click to read text)
Stop and GROW: After reading the text, discuss/ponder the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's Book of Faith questions, which are part of Camp Mount Luther's GROW Time with campers.
QUESTION 1: What scares, confuses, challenges, or doesn’t make sense to me in this text?
QUESTION 2: What delights me in this text or is my favorite part of the story?
QUESTION 3: What stories or memories does this text stir in me?
QUESTION 4: What is God up to in this text?
Reflection: I recently read an article by Mark Noon, Bloomsbury University professor, titled, "How Charlie Brown became a Christmas Tradition." This year happens be the 50th Anniversary of the first airing of this Christmas season favorite. While A Charlie Brown Christmas certainty makes a statement about the commercialization of Christmas, more significant is how the show touches viewers personally.
As the article explains - Early in the program, Charlie Brown looks for just one Christmas card to help him shake the yuletide blues. When he finds his mailboxes empty, he remarks, "I almost wish there wasn't a holiday season. I know nobody likes me. Why do we have to have a holiday season to emphasize it?" Charlie Brown's real dilemma is being rejected and misunderstood.
So we watch the show every year from our childhood through adulthood. We listen as Linus proclaims verses of Good News from the Gospel of Luke and we smile at the moment when the title character overcomes despair as he hears, "Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown!"
Thousands of years before this 50th anniversary of a cartoon about a lonely child, the prophet Zephaniah also proclaimed good news with a promise that the LORD will gather the outcast. (Zeph. 3: 19) These words ring true for half centuries to centuries. God gathers us in our loneliness to each other and to Him.
"Merry Christmas, one and all!" (Cue: Hark the Herald Angels Sing!)
--Ruth Gates, Camp Mount Luther Family Camper
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