Friday, December 24th (Christmas Eve)
But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he was able to stand. ~ Mark 9:27 (NRSV)
He stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, “I do choose. Be made clean!” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed. ~ Matthew 8:3 (NRSV)
He touched her hand, and the fever left her, and she got up and began to serve him. ~ Matthew 8:15 (NRSV)
No other form of communication is as universally understood as touch. The compassionate touch of a hand or a reassuring hug can take away our fears, soothe our anxieties, and fill the emptiness of being lonely.
~ Randi G. Fine
We are nearly to the end of our Advent journey, approaching the humble manger on this Christmas Eve. Our Advent invitation for this holy and precious time is to touch with healing love. This invitation feels especially dear as we continue to deal with the ongoing pandemic, doesn’t it? Even those of us who are fully vaccinated may be hesitant to touch or draw close to others as the contagion evolves and continues. We especially long for and need the healing touch of Jesus when our fear, grief, weariness, loneliness, heartache, or disappointment come upon us during these times.
And Jesus comes! He comes to touch, to hold, and to heal. He comes, in our best of times and in our worst. He comes, in spite of our circumstances and because of them. His healing touch is for everyone; for the child with seizures, for the suffering leper, for the fevered mother-in-law, and for all of us. Jesus answers every prayer with, “I do choose!” He wants to touch us with his healing love.
On this Christmas Eve, we can know and trust that even as we do not feel his physical touch, we DO feel his loving presence with us. We sense his guiding nudge, his warm embrace, his tender caress, and his comforting nearness through his Spirit and through those around us. We can feel his companionship and healing love through all of our days, here and now. Jesus comes – and Jesus remains!
And we can do the same. Even when we may need to refrain from physical nearness, we can still touch others with the loving and healing presence of Christ. We can comfort with words of consolation, we can uplift with gifts that brighten spirits, we can tend with pots of warm soup, we can guide with notes of encouragement. We can be the healing touch of Christ for these trying times and weary people.
Touch. Where do you most need Jesus’s loving touch? Who may need the loving touch of Christ from you today?
Today, may we deeply sense the healing power of the love of Christ, the power that began with tiny, delicate, healing, human hands. May we glow with his love while we reach out to all who need a healing touch today.
And as we come to the end of our Advent journey, may we fully embrace this infant Jesus and hold him close for all eternity.
Prayer: Loving and healing God, through our dear Jesus, you chose to come low and live among and within us. You know our every pain and heartache, so you know best how to help and heal us through every trial. Thank you for coming and for your healing touch in my life. Guide and help me to be your loving presence, your healing touch, for all who long for relief, peace, comfort, or companionship. I DO choose! Amen.