Feast | Wednesday, December 19
Scripture: Luke 12:35-37
“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.”
After experiencing a great deal of early success in life as Public Orator of Cambridge University, George Herbert chose an unconventional career path, settling in as the rector of a small country parish in rural England. He began writing poetry as a way of contemplating and working out his spiritual conflicts. What sets Herbert’s work apart from his contemporaries is that as a minister of the gospel, he is not content with simply expressing the conflict he feels; instead, he consciously and faithfully directs his verses toward resolution and integration. The poem below expresses the speaker’s struggle to accept the welcome of Christ (personified as Love) due to his own feelings of guilt and shame. The miracle of the incarnation—the central drama of Christmas—is that God has not only extended an invitation for sinners to dine at his table; he stands ready to serve those whom he has called as guests.
“Love (III)” by George Herbert (1593-1633) 
Love bade me welcome. Yet my soul drew back
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning,
If I lacked anything.
A guest, I answered, worthy to be here:
Love said, You shall be he.
I the unkind, ungrateful? Ah my dear,
I cannot look on thee.
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
Who made the eyes but I?
Truth Lord, but I have marred them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.
And know you not, says Love, who bore the blame?
My dear, then I will serve.
You must sit down, says Love, and taste my meat:
So I did sit and eat.
Silence for Reflection
• What makes it difficult for you to receive the gift of Christ’s acceptance?
• How does Christ’s acceptance of you change the way you look at others?
Prayer of the Day:
Father, may I be watchful and vigilant as I await your return. Give me new eyes to see how I may do justly, extend mercy, and walk humbly with you. By your Spirit, allow me to accept the gift of grace that you’ve given and to see myself, not in my sin, but as I appear in you; through Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.
 Herbert, George. “Love (III).” George Herbert and the Seventeenth-Century Religious Poets, edited by Mario A. Di Cesare, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1978, p. 69.