Longing…  That’s what was being expressed as we chatted together.  Deep, heartfelt longing.  Longing for a better life, for restored relationships, for a clarity for the way forward, for a sense that life had a purpose and wasn’t simply random, haphazard, meaningless, chaotic, fractured. 

There was a deep longing for restoration…  for all of it – heart, body, mind, and spirit.  Longing for a repaired heart that had been harmed by others, and self-harmed too…  Longing for past mistakes to be covered over, and dealt with, for the healing of shame – deep, often hidden, shame.  Longing for a quietened mind, a clearer way of thinking.  Longing for the ache to leave.

In my role as pastor, it is not unusual to meet people with these longings… and plenty others besides.  They often find a way of rising to the surface because they are common to us all – myself included.  We are all looking for something, aching for something.  Peace, yes peace… and love… and clarity, and purpose, and meaning… and security, financial security, emotional security, eternal security.  Our souls long for rest, our hands long for things to do, our hearts long for people to love and from who to receive love, our minds long for answers, understanding, insight…

   O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
   Above thy deep and dreamless sleep, the silent stars go by;
   yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting light.
   The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.  

Hopes, fears, longings… all met in the arrival of Jesus, the anointed one, God’s son, the Word, the beginning and the end, the light, the truth, the way, the life…  Emmanuel.

The angel-announcement was that God was coming.  His kingdom was on its way.  Available to us all.  To the messed up, the ashamed, the fearful, the disappointed, the alone, the wounded, to the sinful, the lost…  To the longing and the hungry.

This is why the angels gave glory to God, why they honoured him with praise, why they lifted up his name for the shepherds to see and hear – because the saviour was coming. 

And he’s available to us once again.  Jesus is God’s glory revealed.

    The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. 
    We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son,
    who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Believe this good news.  Let you longing find its resolution in Jesus – the one and only son, who came from the Father full of grace and truth.

And know that Jesus is reaching out to those we love, our neighbours, families, and friends.  He is available to them too.  He knows their longings as well as ours. And so come, with them, this weekend to celebrate the appearance of God’s glory. 

  In the tender compassion of our God, the dawn from on high shall break upon us
    and shine up on those who walk in darkness and the shadow of death
    and to guide our feet into the way of peace… 

This is the glory of God revealed… Too good to miss