An ancient interchange begins the Eucharistic Prayer section of each Sunday’s liturgy. The celebrant invites us to ”Lift up your hearts,” to which we respond, “We lift them up to the Lord.” This versicle—literally “upward hearts”—frames the following rituals with joy. During these Yuletide days, the sursum corda exchange might also be another way to say “Merry Christmas.” There’s something delightful about this heart-lifting.
When we hold our hearts—the core of our spirit—upward, we’re also engaged in an act of dedication. “See my entire being, Lord?” we ask. “It belongs to you. It’s available for your purposes.” We stack that self-sacrificing attitude next to our Christmas cheerfulness. Joyful about God’s gracious gift of salvation—made apparent in the birth of Jesus—we pledge our lives to God’s will.
This short liturgical conversation ends with another important Christmas-connected thought: It’s right and proper that we thank and praise God. For what’s already occurred—in this season, that’s the Baby Jesus—and for what’s about to take place in this worship service—forgiveness.
As the Festival of the Nativity approaches, join me in recommitting your life completely to God. Purposefully. Gratefully. Joyfully.