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The Carthage Press
Finding the sacred in everyday life
Day 19: Welcoming you to Christmas
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About this blog
Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. \x34I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. ...
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Simply Faithful
Marketta Gregory never meant to be a columnist. \x34I trained to be a newspaper reporter -- one who tried to her best to be objective. I covered religion for a few years and felt like it was the best job a curious woman like me could ever have. Every day I got to listen as people told me about the things that were most important to them, the things that were sacred. But the newspaper industry was changing and few papers could afford to have an army of speciality reporters. So, I moved to cover the suburbs where, as luck would have it, they have plenty of religion, too. Eventually, children came into the picture. One by birth and another two months later by foster care/adoption. I struggled to chase breaking news and be home at a decent hour, so I made the move to what we journalists call the dark side: I took a job in public relations. (Don't worry. I work for a great non-profit, so it's not dark at all.) When I gave my notice at the Rochester (NY) Democrat and Chronicle, the executive editor asked me to consider writing a column on a freelance basis. She didn't want the newspaper to lose touch with its religious sources, and she still wanted consistent faith coverage. I was terrified. It took me about 10 months to get back to her with a solid plan and some sample columns. And so it began, this journey of opening up my heart to strangers.\x34
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IMG_5972Hey, you.

Feeling rushed and so very far behind? Calculating and recalculating your black-to-red checkbook balance? Not sure what you’re putting on the dinner table tonight?

Is that you?

Beating yourself up for your lack of patience this morning when the kids dawdled or blood pressure still rising because the car in front of you wouldn’t turn right on red? Ashamed of that thing in your past, the one you don’t want anyone to hear about?

Tired – and ready to give up – from the hard hits of life?

Is that you?

Feeling small and less than? Feeling torn apart instead of feeling a part of Christmas? Wondering how a babe in a manger means anything in this crazy world? Asking why he bothered to come at all?

Is that you?

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Can I start by telling you that the babe in a manger is comfortable with questions? Did I mention that he doesn’t expect you to have it all figured out?

He came to a tiny town to be born in a place where there wasn’t even room for him, right? Maybe he knows a little something about feeling like things aren’t ready? About feeling pushed to the side in the chaos?

And do you think that innocent babe knows nothing of sin and hurts and forgiveness? Did you forget that he grew to dine at the home of a shady tax collector and hang by the side of a thief? Could it be that he understands all our shades of brokenness and offers mercy anyway?

What if he doesn’t rescue us from every hard thing but walks with us – never leaving our side? What if he feels every one of those hard hits with you? Wouldn’t that make sense when he tells us he collects every tear and saves them? Knows the number of hairs on our heads?

Can you imagine how much he wants to draw us near to the manger and offer his peace? Maybe bring a bit of stillness and wonder to our days, make each of them holy?

Might I suggest that this God of grace comes looking for you right where you are? How could he not search for you and invite you to come closer? Didn’t he call you beloved? Say you were cherished and chosen? Loved without measure?

Is that you?

That’s you. That’s really you. 

You matter, and you are welcome at Christmas – welcome always.

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