Author: Elizabeth Annis
Reading: Luke 2:1-14
I was born in the New York Presbyterian Hospital and raised on the banks of the Hudson River just west of the city in a New Jersey town aptly named West New York. Throughout my life, I lived in the ever-present shadow of New York City. After college, I pursued my dream of attending art school and enrolled at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. My first job after grad school led me to a small film distributor in the West Village. For the next 13 years, New York City became the epicenter of my world, encompassing my work, leisure, culture, entertainment, friendships, and romances. So, when, after only a year of marriage and just a few months after purchasing a home in Morristown, the devastating events of 9/11 unfolded, I was very affected. It was deeply personal. Everything had changed suddenly and drastically.
In the following weeks, months, and years, I witnessed the incredible power of God to heal all forms of suffering and renew the human spirit. Downtown New York was rebuilt and offered hope and promise. The stories, the memorials, new construction, the sheer wonder of it all—these were testaments to the power of the human spirit. To me, this is the essence of the story of the birth of Jesus Christ.
“‘Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly, a great company of heavenly beings appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’” Luke 2:11-14
Out of the darkness and despair of those days, a new life began in Morristown. A year later, I became a mother. As New York City rebuilt and regenerated, welcoming new life, our family found its roots in Morristown, and our faith in God continued to grow.
Dear Heavenly God,
Give me the strength and wisdom to provide a warm, loving and stable home for me today and every day, and the ability to adequately serve as your eyes, ears and voice to continually provide hope, joy, laughter and love for a weary world that needs to be reminded that your presence is a constant source of comfort and guidance, even in the darkest of moments. I pray in Jesus’ name, trusting in your unwavering love and grace.
Find one person this week to pray for who needs God’s peace. Surprise an old friend you haven’t spoken to in over ten years with a phone call.