Windows into the Light by Michael Sullivan

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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Thursday, December 18

Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.
—Luke 22:42

Of all the prayers we pray with Jesus, this one is the hardest. When we pray for God's will to be done, we surrender ourselves completely, turning our whole life over to God. At this time of year, such a prayer seems especially difficult.

I want a nice little child to come among us. I want a cute baby Jesus with rosy cheeks and sweet eyes. I want a child that falls asleep on my shoulder, comforting me in his very presence, his very innocence. I want a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger. I don't want a Jesus that gives himself completely for this world—not if that means pain, crying, and despair. I want the crèche God, the one of Christmas cards and carols, not the one saying "your will Father, your will."

And yet, Jesus prays. Even in the manger, Christ is walking toward redemption, toward all the darkness and difficultly that life throws at us as he makes his way to the cross. That's not the image I want of the manger; I don't want to pray this prayer with the baby in Bethlehem. But when I stop to consider all that it means, all that Christ gives, I begin to see things differently; I begin to see God as God really is.

The manger is a part of the whole story of God's love and redemption. There's nothing wrong with stopping there for a while and resting. But the reality of praying for God's will is accepting the rest of the story as well, seeing the birth, the teaching, the life, the death, the empty tomb as one event, one incredible act of God's passion for us.

When we're able to pray with Jesus, "your will be done Father," the radical message of Christ among us takes root and the life of God's garden begins to grow within. We pray the most difficult prayer, and with Jesus, we find the meaning of our life.

God, let me see your passion as you break into the world. May seeing your love from Bethlehem to Jerusalem, manger to empty tomb, transform my sight and reveal the wholeness of your love for me and your world. Amen.