Thanksgiving/Advent 2022 - The Hands That First Held Mary's Child....
November 8, 2022, 12:07 PM

The hands that first held Mary’s child were hard from working wood,
From boards they sawed and planed and filed, and splinters they withstood.
This day they gripped no tool of steel, they drove no iron nail,
But cradled from the head to heel our Lord, newborn and frail.
 - Thomas H. Troeger 1985


The hands that first held Jesus were hard, rough hands, hands that worked wood into useful shapes. The eyes that first
looked upon the newborn king were used to checking a board for straightness. The warm body upon which the infant
was placed belonged to a young newlywed, far from home, and worn from travel. The place that they had to shelter their
child was rough and dark and cool. The visitors that came first to the birthplace were unskilled laborers, unwashed and
unrefined. The mouths that first proclaimed his birth were used to rough language. The hearts that first loved Jesus were of ordinary size, and beat faster at this time of joy, excitement, and apprehension - just as any human heart would.

Yet the Son of God, the Christ, was placed into their hands, and hearts, and home for safe-keeping.

Today, the Spirit of Christ is still entrusted into human hearts. The work of Christ is placed into human hands. The 
love of Christ is still given into human homes.

The hearts we have to offer are no less skilled at loving than the hearts of a Galilean carpenter and his young wife. 
The hands we have to offer are no rougher than his. The way that we know to worship him can hardly be more uncouth
than a Judean shepherd. We may be wise, or have trouble with our decisions. We may be intelligent, or we may 
have to work things out slowly. We may be skilled and artistic, or we may be all thumbs.  Our homes may be large and 
well quipped, or they may be small or in need of repair.

Yet the Son of God is entrusted into our care, and he, likewise, cares for us.

No human heart is too weak or too strong to love and be loved by him. No mind is too quick or too slow to know him, 
no hands too capable or too clumsy to need and be needed by him. No home is too humble or too proud to make a 
place for him. No mouth is too skilled or too profane to proclaim the Good News of his love and salvation.

In the coming Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas seasons, we are reminded of the coming of Jesus the Christ into 
our human world. He has come to all of us, for each of us, whoever and however we are. Welcome him into your 
minds and hearts and homes - this season, and always.

In the joy of Christ’s love,

Pastor Matt Stengel