Steven Furtick - The Pajamas Are a Prophecy
We praise you for who you are. We praise you because you came, and because you came we come to worship you, adore you, and give you glory, Christ the Lord. Thank you for coming for us. Thank you for dying for us. Thank you for giving us this moment. We worship you, almighty God. In Jesus' name, amen.
I want to welcome you to a very special Sunday at Elevation Church. Welcome to our eFam around the world. A few minutes from now we'll have the chance to give our offering, and that will be absolutely incredible. As we stand in the midst of so many miracles God has done for each of us and so many miracles he has done for all of us, I invite you to bring your offering with joy today. Maybe your offering is a million dollars. We have had people give a million dollars in these offerings. It might not be that much in terms of the finances of it, but we all get to stretch our faith together.
So, whether you're here in a building or watching online, I'm excited about the opportunity to give today. As you give, you will select one word or phrase. Some people make up really creative words, like, "My word for the year is trusting-God-even-though-I-don't-see-his-goodness". A lot of hyphens. Whether it's a sentence or a word, something that captures the spirit of what you're believing God to do in your life, and we'll believe God with you and stand with you for that. Again, at the end of the sermon I'll pray and we'll have that opportunity, which means I have to preach short today, which means you have to listen hard. So tell your neighbor, "If we get out late, it's your fault for not listening". I can look and see how well you're listening. If we do this right, I will have you home in time today to watch the Panthers lose. Are the Panthers playing today? All right. That's a prophecy. Praise the Lord.
I started a tradition a few years ago of giving you your Christmas sermon on the week you give the offering, so I'm going to continue that tradition today. I like to give it to you before you get so busy. The busier you get in this season the less bandwidth you have. So, I want to give you the Christmas story and walk through it together and see a few things God would speak to us before things get extra hectic. How many would say, "It's already extra hectic, Pastor Steven. You're about 35 years too late"? Well, may this message find you and catch up with you wherever you are today. Remain standing in honor of the reading of God's Word. If you're joining us online today, let us know in the chat where you're watching from.
Luke 2:7-12. "And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger".
Let's put our hands together and thank God for the gift of Jesus Christ. Look at that again with me. Verse 12: "You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger". The title I want to give this message today is a little unusual, but stick with me and I'll make it make sense. The Lord told me to tell you The Pajamas Are a Prophecy. Now touch your neighbor and say, "Don't sleep through this sermon. This one is going to make sense in a minute". When I think about this Christmas announcement to the shepherds and the Christmas story in general, it causes me to reflect and realize how many times in my life rejection or the fear of rejection has kept me from receiving a gift God wanted to give me. I don't like to admit that, because I would like to pretend as if everybody else was to blame for the things I didn't get in life or that I'm just waiting on the Lord for everything I've prayed for, but this Christmas in reflecting I thought a lot about how rejection… I'll break that down a little bit for you right now, but first let me tell you a story.
On Christmas Eve, my grandmother on my dad's side would always come to see us with my uncle Russell. Both of them are now in heaven. They both died within the last couple of years. I want to tell you about the last time I saw both of them. They lived just about 200 yards apart on the same piece of land. My uncle called me to tell me he was sick and didn't have much time. He had kept it a secret. He didn't tell anybody. I really loved this uncle, too. He was my cool uncle. He didn't give me beer, or anything like that, when my dad wasn't looking, but he always had my back. When I called the DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince 1-900 hotline and ran up a $70 phone bill, he was the one to meet me out in the yard and let me know I was in trouble so I could prepare to go face my dad. He had my back. So I went to see him, and it was really sad because he was already in the bed. "Why didn't you tell us sooner? We could have come and seen you sooner".
He was a very private person. Going to see him with my mom, I figured while we were there we would get to see my grandmother, too, who was also pretty sick, but something weird happened. Y'all, I didn't want to tell this story at the start of my sermon because it's going to sound heavy, but it's all right to laugh, because it's kind of funny, and everybody's family is kind of crazy. So don't feel bad laughing at this when I tell you, because it's kind of funny. We're sitting there with my uncle, and my grandmama calls. They pick up the phone. We're sitting with my uncle, and I hear my grandmama on the phone while my uncle's girlfriend is sitting there. She says, "Hey, Grandmama". They had tension in their relationship too, but she was calling because he was very sick and probably days away from dying. She goes, "What are y'all doing"? Sandy says, "Well, Faith and Steven are here". Grandmama goes, "Faith and Steven? Oh, god"!
Now I loved my grandmama. It's not like we had some horrible relationship. Again, she would come every Christmas Eve. My grandmama was the one who would record the pay-per-view WrestleManias for me when I was a boy, so I owe her a great debt of gratitude, love, and honor. Anyway, she said, "Faith and Steven? Oh, god"! Then she went, "Are they coming over here"? She didn't know we could hear her. Sandy said, "I don't know, Grandmama". Grandmama went, "God, I hope not"! I know. It's kind of like, "Heh, heh, heh. Great for Pastor Steven". It was the weirdest thing. We didn't go see her, and I never saw her again. I don't know that I regret that, necessarily, because it was pretty obvious we weren't wanted. You know, my mom said something, and I fact checked this with her this week to make sure she actually said it. When we were driving away, we were like, "Wasn't that crazy that we were like these unwanted aliens invading and she didn't want to see us"? My mom went, "Well, maybe it wasn't that she didn't want to see us; maybe she didn't want us to see her in that state and the house in that state".
She had raised one of her son's daughters, and then those kids were there, so the house was always a mess. Maybe she wasn't rejecting us. Maybe she was protecting herself from being seen by us. The reason I mention that, as embarrassing as the story is and as awkward as it is… Merry Christmas, everybody. Here's a heart-wrenching Christmas story to warm your spirits. We'll put some hot cocoa in the Communion cups at Christmas Eve and make it up to you or something like that. The reason I share it is it made me realize that a lot of times we reject blessings in our lives because we don't accept the messes that come with them. What I love about Luke, chapter 2, and the way God comes to earth in the form of a baby born in a barn in Bethlehem is it lets me know God is very comfortable stepping into my mess.
I want to say to somebody today whose life is a mess going into this holiday season… House is a mess. Mind is a mess. Marriage is a mess. Money is a mess. If I look long enough, I'll find a mess. Don't make me get up under the bed. I'll open the doors in the closet in the room you don't let anybody in. Everybody in here has a mess. I think one of the greatest sins of the church is the "cutification" of Christmas. (I made that word up.) Little baby Jesus. You know, babies are only cute when you're waving at them. They're chaotic if you're raising them. I'm going to say it again. Babies are cute when you wave… "Oh, look. That baby is so cute". But when you're raising them… Jesus Christ the baby becomes the perfect symbol of Christmas because it teaches us that God is comfortable in our chaos.
So, don't wait until you get it all together to invite God in. Don't be like Grandmama and think, "Well, if they saw how I was living…" The beauty of the incarnation of Jesus Christ is (Romans 5:8) while we were still sinners Christ died for us, and while we were in our lowly state he came. Notice where he came. He came in a field to the shepherds. It reminds me that God can reach me wherever I am. Let's get that confession going. Say it out loud. "God can reach me wherever I am". This is why we sing the Christmas carol "I've got friends in low places". This season you have some expectations for great moments and peaceful moments and wonderful reunions and wonderful gifts and all of that, but if you really want to have a blessed Christmas season, might I give you some unspiritual-sounding advice. Lower your expectations. Set your expectations low. You're like, "But no. The Bible said, 'Fear not, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy.'"
In that sense, we expect blessings to come into our lives. How many are expecting God to bless you before the year is over in a brand new, beautiful way? Well, don't be shy about it. You're not going to get it like that. Little timid Christian. How many are expecting God to bless you? Yeah, I am. Of course I am. I'm expecting for him to show up and provide for me. I'm expecting for him to see me through with his peace. I'm expecting for him to create moments I'll remember. I'm expecting him to visit in my life. God promised, first, he will reach you. Notice the angels came to the shepherds. The reason I mentioned Saint Garth Brooks is because… Look at this verse. You've never seen this before in the Christmas story. It said, "And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them…" You missed it. While we're so busy looking for God to come from up here, from a high experience… The angel of the Lord came upon them.
The Bible says, "And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them…" So, if you're looking for God in your life right now, looking for provision and protection in your life right now, I have a piece of advice: look low. Imagine heaven wanting to get the word out that the Savior of the world is born, so heaven puts together an advertising agency, a marketing team. "We've got to get the word out and let everybody know that the Savior is born, that the one who was prophesied is coming, that the one who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah is here right now. 'Today is born to you in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.' Who will we assemble to be the influencers who will spread this heavenly message"?
So, God looks at Silicon Valley and finds some tech start-up billionaires, but he can't give them the message because they're too high for it. God looks at somebody else who has a perfect standing in society, some socialite who is accepted by all, who has entry into every environment, but he can't give them the message because they're too high for it. God puts together a search committee. "We need to give somebody the message that the Savior is born, and we can't find anybody except these shepherds". You have to understand something about the shepherds. The shepherds were the lowest people in the society of the day. So, when God got ready to give the highest announcement, he picked the lowest people to give the highest announcement. I wonder, is he looking for somebody today who has been really low because he wants to show you something? I had to learn that the Lord looks low. Did you know that? The Lord looks low.
Jesus said, "I am lowly in heart". For all of those who are in a spiritual low today, he's looking for you. Tell your neighbor in case they're going through. Say, "He's looking for you". "Hey, angels, over here. We're important". "No, I'm not looking for you". "Hey, angels, over here. I'm really smart". "I'm not looking for you". "Hey, angels, over here. I'm accepted by everybody". "I'm not looking for you. I'm looking for a low person". You say, "Well, does that mean if my life is going well God won't bless me"? It doesn't mean that at all. It just means the only reason your life is going well is he reached down when you were low. Some of us have forgotten. I'm going to give you 23 seconds to remember how he reached down low, how you didn't deserve for him to answer your prayer, how you had to pray for him to get you out of a situation that you got yourself into. He reached down low. He reached way down low.
The Bible said, "Lo, the angel of the Lord…" I've got a friend in low places. That encouraged me. Look for God in the lows over the next 20 days. Look for the lessons he wants you to learn in the lows. After all, if he chose lowly shepherds to reveal his Son to, maybe he will choose your low moment to reveal the greatest lessons of your life. Now, I'm on a clock today, but that's not the only thing I wanted to tell you about. That's just one thing. The first thing I noticed was God promises to reach you. (There are three points in this sermon if you choose to write them down.) He will reach you. Then the second thing, what really got my attention… Y'all, I don't get tired of preaching the Christmas story. I don't know why. It's the same every time I read it, but I'm not. That's why we come back around to this again. It's the same, but I'm not. I'm growing. I'm changing. I'm not staying a baby. Jesus didn't, and he's in me.
It's interesting that God would reveal himself to lowly people and reach them. What a strategy. I have to point this out. The angel could have told everybody Jesus was born. He didn't. He told the shepherds. They went to Bethlehem and saw it, and they told everybody, because God wanted people to receive the word of his Son through messy messengers. That's a lot of what's going on in your life right now. God is speaking to you through messy messengers, but if you don't accept the mess, you reject the blessing. So, he promises to reach you. It's a contrast, isn't it? I wrote this in my notes. See if this makes sense to you. "Jesus is in the juxtaposition". On one hand, I'm given a promise of great joy. On the other hand, I am told to look in a manger for a baby. There's nothing great about a baby, physically speaking.
Now, I want to teach a little bit so we don't just have a sentimental Christmas. Let's really dig into this. The smallness of the body God chose to inhabit says something about the way he works in our lives. If God being God could be born of a virgin, then he could have skipped to the highest version of humanity to come to earth. That would have been more efficient. God chooses the least efficient way possible to save the world. The only way I can explain this to you is to tell you that God does not always work in the way that makes the least mess or takes the least time. He works in the way that brings him the most glory. He looks for a shepherd. They're messy. They're in the fields when they go to see the baby. They didn't even get to wash their hands. They're in the middle of their mess and God shows up. You are in the middle of a mess and God will show up. But how will he show up? Small. "You will find a babe wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger".
Big enough to save the world; small enough to fit in a cradle. This is the juxtaposition of Jesus. In the book of Zechariah, chapter 4, verse 10, the prophet says, "Despise not the day of small beginnings". This Christmas, you have to understand that some of the things God gives you in your life are under wraps right now. They're big, but they're in a little package. The fact that Jesus came as a baby lets us know there is a development process to everything God does in your life. So, you pray for something and get frustrated, because what God gave you doesn't match what you asked for. The fact that he came as a baby lets me know there is a part of God I must grow into. I feel so anointed to preach this to somebody who has been frustrated. You have been frustrated because you have been comparing your starting place to somebody else's finished product. God says, "If you look for me, you'll find me as a baby".
Just a small thing. Just a small prayer. Holly, the other day one of the men I met at the wrestling match said, "I've got a question to ask you. Elevation Church, right"? I said… Because that could go either way. He could say, "My whole family got saved there" or he could say, "I heard y'all pass out marijuana instead of Communion bread. Is that true"? People say all kinds of crazy stuff about our church. I've heard everything about our church. How many people have heard crazy stuff about our church before? I'm not looking because you'll hurt my feelings. I'm closing my eyes. "That big church. That megachurch". But here's what he said that blessed me. He said, "I've got a question I always wanted to ask you. Elevation Church, right"?
Obviously I'm kidding. I'm proud to pastor this church. I'm proud to pastor a church that would give millions of dollars, reach millions of souls, do amazing things, stand and serve, drive back darkness, shatter stereotypes, clothe the orphan, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, visit those in prison, and proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord's favor. I said, "Yeah, Elevation Church. What"? A little edgy. He said, "Did y'all used to meet in a basement"? I had to think about it, because I barely remember that basement, but I said, "Yeah. Actually we did…in the basement of the Matthews Community Center". So he said, "Did you meet in a basement"? I said, "Yeah. We actually did for a few weeks. That's where we started…in the Matthews Community Center basement". He said, "How long did you meet there"? I said, "Not long, but it was the longest six weeks of my life".
I used to go into the bathroom in the basement of the Matthews Community Center and stand over the toilet, because every week I felt like I would throw up, because I was pregnant. Have you ever had morning sickness for something God was doing in your life? No offense. I know it's just a metaphor, but I felt like that. I felt like I was carrying something big. Maybe that's why I wanted to preach about Mary, because maybe I was standing over the toilet feeling like I was carrying something, but I was scared of something, but I was carrying something, but I was scared of something. In that juxtaposition… Are you there right now? You know God has given you a word. You know God has called you to do something. You know God has made you a promise. You know he reached down and saved you. You know he has given you a testimony. You know he brought you out of a miry pit. You know he set your feet on the rock. But in that basement behind the closed door of a bathroom stall, I was privately petrified.
I didn't think it would be good if I threw up in front of my team. I didn't think that would be a good look for leadership. Yet somehow, from that basement… I'm preaching about a barn in Bethlehem and a basement in Matthews, but I'm really preaching about the low place in your life today, whatever it is, the small beginning in your life today, because God said, "Not only will I reach you but I will wrap you". Think about Jesus. Come on. Let's consider it. Before we get really cute with it and put money on our credit cards to tell Jesus "Happy birthday," before we go into debt to show the Lord how much we appreciate all he has done for us… Before we get into all that chaos, let's take a moment and consider the Christ, a babe born in a manger, laid in a manger. Why? Luke 2:7: "Because there was no room for him in the inn".
He was rejected. The Savior came, and he was rejected. He was rejected because they had no room. So now I wonder. Am I talking about Jesus or am I talking about you? Maybe you've been rejected not by a person, but maybe your dream has been rejected or denied or delayed or deferred this year. In that place of rejection where you could not find room for yourself, could not feel at home in your emotions, could not see a solution through your Red Sea, could not see a way through your storm, could not find peace in your night, could not figure out your next step to take… In that place of rejection you will find a babe in a manger. It wasn't Mary's plan to place him in a manger. It was not her preference to place him in a manger. Sometimes we end up in places we didn't plan to be. "I didn't plan for my season to get ended early. I didn't plan for my job to go overseas or be replaced by a computer. I didn't plan for my kid to come home and say, 'I need some money. I'm on drugs.' I didn't plan for any of this".
Just because you did not expect it doesn't mean God hasn't covered it. To you whom this word is for, it is a specific word. You have been rejected by people. You could not find anyone to help you. You didn't get it from where you wanted to get it from. It didn't come through when you needed it to come through. Jesus was laid in a manger, but watch the Bible. It says he's wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. The manger is a cold place. The manger is a strange place, but these swaddling clothes, see, these strips of linen that were wrapped around him, were a symbol of his mother's care. How many would say, "I was rejected, but God wrapped me. I was disappointed, but he wrapped me. I was lost and lonely, but he wrapped me. I was turned away, but he wrapped me. I was done wrong, but he wrapped me".
This becomes the prophecy. The promise of God does not mean we will never find ourselves in a low place. It simply means that wherever life lays you, God has you wrapped. Say, "God has me wrapped". In fact, right now I feel the Everlasting Father wrapping his arms around somebody to let you know that you didn't plan to be here, but he planned for your arrival, and he prophesied it. Joseph and Mary didn't think this was the right time to have the baby. They were headed to Bethlehem, which wasn't even where their hospital or their gift registry was, but the prophet had said (Micah 5:2), "From you, Bethlehem, will come a ruler". So they had to be in Bethlehem at that exact moment so they could give birth to this King.
The Spirit wants you to know right now he's got you wrapped. He welcomes you with your weird self. He welcomes you with your weak self. I know it because of how he came. He reached me. He wrapped me. I never paid attention to the swaddling clothes, never thought much about them. I was too busy trying to get to the frankincense, the gold, and the myrrh, the good stuff. But I found out sometimes God will allow you to be rejected and he will wrap you and that sometimes people's rejection is God's protection. Don't assume God isn't doing it. He just has it under wraps right now. Don't assume it's insignificant. "You will find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes," long strips of linen that wrapped the Savior. He's got you wrapped right now. I can't get off of it, y'all. He's got you wrapped right now, because it's cold in this manger. It's cold in this divorce. It's cold in this condition. It's cold in this hospital room. It's cold in this prison bed. It's cold in this loveless home. It's cold in this adolescent trial. It's cold in this court case. It's cold right now, but I'm covered.
I shiver sometimes, but he came to the shepherds to let me know that I'll never go so low he can't reach me, that I'll never make a mess too bad that he won't step into it. Stop turning God away, Grandmama, because your house is a mess. When he comes in, he'll clean it up. When he comes in, he'll fix it up. When he comes in, he'll turn it around. When he comes in, he'll bring new wine. When he comes in… "I've got good news of great joy! Tell the shepherds I'm stepping in. Tell my people, 'You've got a friend in a low place. You've got a Savior in a manger.'" Let's give him 30 seconds of manger praise! Lo, the angel came. Lo, I see God reaching down to the addicted today this Christmas season, the broken family, the grieving family, the shame in your heart, everything you want to use to keep him out. He said, "That's the reason I'm coming in. I came to save sinners".
Can I tell you one more thing? He said he will reach you. Say, "He'll reach me". Secondly say, "He'll wrap me". Maybe you need to tell your neighbor. Pretend like you're an angel for a minute. Make the announcement. Everybody say, "He'll reach you". Put it on the line. Say, "He'll reach you". Say, "He'll wrap you". He'll wrap you like a gift. Some of you have been taken for granted, and you think you don't have a gift. You think you're not good at anything. You've got it; you're just wrapped right now. When God gets ready to unwrap it, he's going to use it, and he needs you to be mature enough to handle it. I feel no doubt that this is the message God wanted us to shout about this Christmas. Y'all keep clapping like an angel. Why don't you shout like a shepherd one time? Shout like he came for you when you couldn't come to him! If he has to reach way down, Jesus will pick you up.
So, I'll give you this. God was once a baby taking his first breath. Sovereignty laid swaddled where the oxen slept. God was once a toddler taking his first steps. The carpenter of the cosmos wobbled on two legs. God once wore pajamas. You didn't know God wore pajamas? He said, "You will find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger". Now, Isaiah said he'd be born of a virgin, Micah said he would be born in Bethlehem, but not one of the prophets told me he would be wrapped in cloths. That's because it was hidden. It is Christ in you, the hope of glory. It is hidden. It does not yet appear what we shall be, but watch this. Although the pajamas were not directly prophesied, the pajamas are a prophecy. I told you it would make sense when I finished.
Now let's preach. When Jesus comes in human form, we see him wrapped in strips of linen. The next time we will see strips of linen in the story of Jesus… Let me teach the Bible. The Bible says in John 20:5 that when Peter got to the tomb where the body of the Savior used to lie… He came following John, and he went into the tomb and saw the linen cloths laying there. "What are you trying to say, Furtick"? I'm trying to say what used to hold him couldn't hold him anymore. That's why he was wrapped in strips of linen. He was letting you know, "They're going to lay me in the grave with the penalty of your sin, but in three days…" God lived in a body laid down in a grave. Three days later he was gone. Linen strips remained. I figured it out. The mystery of the linen strips is that Jesus was born swaddled in linen strips. When he died, he was buried in linen strips. When he rose, he left the linen strips to let you know that he is Lord of all. "You will find the babe…"
Stop looking up there to something better in the future. "…wrapped in swaddling clothes". You keep telling me who left you. Start telling me how he held you when they left you. "He wrapped me". So he came to the shepherds to let me know he can reach me. He came as a baby wrapped in linen to let me know he can wrap me. At the end of his life, he rose from the dead and left his linen strips to let me know he can raise me. The pajamas were a prophecy, y'all. He was swaddled not only so he wouldn't shiver. Jesus was God. He could have made his body a seat warmer even as a baby. He was swaddled in strips so you would know he came to die for you and that whatever has died in your life will rise again in his name.
This is my Christmas message to you. This is the prophecy of the pajamas. Every Christmas, my wife gives every member of our family pajamas. It's a tradition. Every Christmas she gives us pajamas on Christmas Eve. When the kids were little, they didn't like the pajamas, but they knew what the pajamas signified. It meant "Not many hours from now, we've got something for you". Tell your neighbor, "God has got something for you". When they opened the pajamas they could know, "Oh, it's Christmas Eve". It became like Pavlov's dog. They started getting excited about the pajamas because of what the pajamas prophesied. I need you to start getting excited again about what God can do in your life. "Despise not the day of small beginnings". Linen strips are laying there. An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives…not just a manger birth but an empty grave. Show them my family in pajamas. Every Christmas Eve.
What is going on with my hair? That's back when I used to preach seven thousand Christmas services. Look at my hair. It's a wonder I didn't end up in a rehab facility preaching that many Christmas services. That was the year… You know what? I think this woman was… When she gave them those pajamas with a dog on them, I think (I just thought about this) she was prophesying. Show them the other picture. Now we have a dog for real. The pajamas were a prophecy. I want you to get the picture in your mind one more time of Christmas for real. You can have your Christmas-scented candles all you want. If they really smelled like Christmas, you wouldn't want to light them, because it was messy. It was smelly. It was rough. You would light a candle to cover up the smell of the first Christmas, but from that came a Savior.
So, I give you this charge this Christmas: expect a blessing. "And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them… Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good news of great joy, which shall be to all people". Shepherds and sages…all people. Billionaires and broke…all people. Expect a blessing and accept the mess. Accept it. God accepts you. I never saw my grandmother again because she wasn't expecting our visit. We never had a moment because she didn't want to show her mess. I know you keep pushing God out, keep pushing joy out, keep pushing the future out, keep pushing peace out, keep pushing it out because you're messy. Expect the blessing from the God who steps into your mess. This is the Lord of the linen strips. This is the prophecy of the pajamas. God has you wrapped. Wrap your arms around yourself right there where you are.
God, I thank you that you've got me covered. I thank you for covering my family. I thank you for covering my special needs child. I thank you for covering the soldier who's overseas and can't be with their family. I thank you, Lord. I thank you for covering me as I look at an empty seat. I thank you for covering me as I wish I could do more for people, but I can't right now. I thank you for covering those who are waiting for a breakthrough in their emotions. I thank you that they're covered. Even in the cold this Christmas, you said you'll find Jesus wrapped. Thank you, Jesus, for wrapping me.