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Morning Prayer

Whose I Am: A Different Approach over the Holidays

by Sarah Ruhl

Kansas City Fellow 2016-17

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Oh, come, oh, come, Emmanuel,

And ransom captive Israel,

That mourns in lonely exile here

Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come O Rod of Jesse’s stem,

From ev’ry foe deliver them

That trust your mighty pow’r to save;

Bring them in vict’ry through the grave.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel

Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, our Dayspring from on high,
And cheer us by your drawing nigh,
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

Oh, come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Oh, bid our sad divisions cease,
And be yourself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to you, O Israel!

I sit in silence in my green bean bag. I appreciate the subtle warmth of my room, even though I feel the cold morning air around me. I wrap a warm blanket around my legs and try to feel cozy while staying attentive to the words God would like me to speak to Him this morning, and constantly listening for the words He is speaking to me. Throughout the majority of my day I will be emailing, speaking to, sending requests to, and creating peace and clarity among my coworkers. But this time is for wholly focused prayer to Him. In a world of chaos and craziness, December is often forgot as a time for believers to wrestle with the coming of our King. The fact that Jesus came to earth as a baby to rescue His people who were held captive to sin. The fact that He came in a stable, and demanded no great ceremony or celebration upon His coming to this earth. Rather, He came as a child. Lowly. Meek. Mild.

Yet, as I pray these words, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel. That mourns in lonely exile here, until the Son of God appear. Rejoice, Rejoice, Emmanuel, Shall come to you, O Israel!” the brokenness of this world is ever present in my mind. The sin, hurt, and brokenness in relationships, families, cities, cultures, and communities all over the world. From Aleppo, to urban/rural poverty in America, to the tensions and hurts that are present in both the lives of my coworkers and among us as the KC Fellows. This brokenness should bring us to our knees in prayer for our Savior to come this Christmas. And it should bring prayers of thankfulness as we recount His generous gift of salvation that we are so undeserving of.

As a part of our Friday morning LEARN sessions, we have been discussing the spiritual disciplines, and I have chosen to make early morning prayer a more regular part of my life during the Christmas season. As I did this, I also committed to using the church calendar and Christ-focused Christmas songs as a guide for my prayers. As I look back on the month leading up to Christmas Day, I am so thankful I made this spiritual practice a priority during the Christmas season. Remembering the significance of Jesus’ incarnation has constantly sustained me day after day in what was a very busy December. It has also given me wisdom, patience, and discernment as I have navigated tricky relationships and challenges at work. It gave me a light and vision so much bigger than the day-to-day tasks I complete. It reminded me not only who I am, but whose I am, and how I should live each and every day of my life as I start out this New Year.

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