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"People of Israel, you heard the prophet tell:
'A virgin mother will bear Emmanuel';
She conceived him, 'God with us,'
Our brother, whose birth
restores hope and courage to children of this earth."
Emmanuel, God with us…whose birth restores hope and courage.
What about that word courage?
Courage: "the strength or ability to face something that is frightening or painful."

Have you noticed that the story of an angel, a young pregnant girl and the birth of Jesus is a story of courage?
- A young woman in conversation with an angel sings with joy
- Pregnant, traveling, finding no place to spend the night, a young woman gives birth in a barn
- Parents with a newborn fleeing to another country to save the life of their child

Might you be needing courage today in these ways?
- To be open to change and new ideas
- To listen and learn from others
- To freely offer forgiveness
- To let go of a busy agenda to care for a neighbor
- To admit biases and prejudices about others
- To speak for those who do not have the power or means to speak for themselves
- To learn from mistakes and try again
- To be open to new insights in God’s Word

And we pray:
God of grace and God of glory, on your people pour your power. Grant us wisdom grant us courage for the living of these days. Amen