Resolution Number 1: Ask for Help

One of my all-time favorite Christmas movies is the 1996 remake of The Preacher's Wife. Courtney B. Vance is a burnt-out minister who tries to lead a struggling congregation through the most joyful season of the year. Whitney Houston plays his devoted wife whose father once pastored the same congregation. In one of the movie's early scenes, a Sunday morning worship service finds the pastor weary. He sighs in the pulpit and then launches into a sermon. His wife looks puzzled. The look changes to concern. Then she rises and quietly gives instructions to her fellow singers. When the pastor pauses to take a breath, the choir breaks into one line of song. Startled, the pastor resumes his sermon. When he pauses again, the choir launches into another line. His frustration increases as he gives his wife a look that says, "No more!" After the service, we discover that in his desperation to provide hope to the congregation, the pastor had pulled out one of his father-in-law's old sermons and tried to preach it. His wife recognized the recycled sermon right away and decided that "he needed a little help." He smiled gently at her and nodded.*

As the twelve days of Christmas glide us into a New Year, we make resolutions that often revolve around what we desire to do by ourselves and for ourselves. Lose weight. Eat properly. Contact old friends. Find new friends. So often, we try to make changes in our lives by our own willpower. There is nothing wrong with such motivation, but we don't have to accomplish these resolutions by our own doing. Sometimes we all need a little help along the way.

What if we made two resolutions this year, in this order: (1) to ask for help more often, (2) to receive help more often.. In this particular movie, the preacher asked his father-in-law for help by searching out his sermon. He then received help from his wife--and from a mysterious angel who appears later. As a result, they are able to help more people as the story progresses.

As we approach 2012, resolve not to resolve so much. Instead, let us open our hearts to ask & receive from one another as God ministers to us through each other. We'll all be stronger for the journey if we take that journey together--with God as our guide.

grace, peace, hope, and all good things to each of you--
Pastor Darian

* The Preacher's Wife at imdb.com