Merry Christmas

Here are a few things I’ve seen or experienced this season to help make me ready for Christmas:

A few weeks back after the lighting of the town Christmas Tree there was a gathering at the library and one of the librarians read “T’was the Night Before Christmas”. Now there was a young boy there, perhaps three or four years old, and he clearly had never heard the story before. He was transfixed. His mouth hung open in awe. The librarian did a stellar job of reading the story but his response must have propelled her to perfection. It was a wonderful reminder of the power of story and imagination and it was good to behold.

I have been reading a series of Advent reflections by Walter Brueggeman. He beautifully weaves the story of our faith into the culture we inhabit. He lifts up the challenge the Christmas story presents to our age – the world’s salvation coming in powerlessness rather than presidential power, the diminishment proclaimed by John the Baptist pulling us back from the affluence of our age. Walter reminds me that Christmas is a radical faith claim, a counter cultural message.

And finally a friend died at the start of the Advent season. For a wide variety of reasons her service will not be held until the new year. Normally I would have prepared the service anyway, while everything was fresh in my mind but this time I couldn’t. I waited a few weeks and then suddenly one afternoon realized that I knew the words I needed to say. I wrote the service based on a final blessing she offered all her friends. She had said, “you are a gift of grace.” That is a wonderfully Christmassy, incarnational thought. You are a gift of grace. You are a Christmas miracle. You are God made manifest.

I trust you will take time to be aware of the Christmas happenings around you. God bless you in this season.