Merry Christmas to you! Once again, we encounter one of the great mysteries of our faith: God with us – God among us, as one of us, sharing our grief and sorrows. Sharing joy as well.
Embracing the mystery of the darkness is not something that comes easy to us USAmericans. We sugar coat everything. We numb our lives by running from the darkness at every turn. This is part of the whole “build a wall” if you hadn’t noticed. It is why we are always shopping and gambling and drinking, I suspect too.
But there is an aspect of the darkness, the fear, that we do not run from.
Christians turn into the darkness unafraid. You could even say we embrace the darkness fully. And that is what Christmas is about. And by doing so, we embrace the Light.
Last night many of us experienced darkness, with acolytes sharing the light at a Candlelight service. We are also near the darkest day of the year. It gets dark early. It is hard to escape the dark these days. A perfect time for Christmas, and the coming of the Light!
Once again we turn our attention to the special readings for the 12 Days of Christmas. Today is Day 1. Today we celebrate the coming of the Christ-child to earth.
Today is prophecy. Zechariah assures us that the Lord will, “come and dwell in our midst.” That day will also see many nations joining themselves to the Lord. Often this is the focus of the Messiah’s coming. This is a person who will bring people together, not separate people with walls or any other means.
Christ did bring many together, but not by breaking down governmental lines. Instead we are bound together in our differences in a body and a spirit – the Body of Christ, the Church. No political revolution here. Instead we got a revolution of the heart. Our unity, it turns out, is not homogenous language, country affiliation, or even doctrine, but a unity in diversity.
John explores a different face of the Messiah’s coming. “The one who comes from above is above all, the one who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things” Also we hear that “the Father loves the Son and has placed all things in his hands.” So this leader of ours is more than a political pundit. He is God. God sent to earth to be one of us. And we are part of this extravagant love.
That is aggressive love!
And that really is the kernel of the Christmas message – that God came to us, to be one of us, to gather us closer together and closer to him, and he did it in a radical and unexpected way. Today is what separates us from our Jewish and Muslim brothers and sisters. Some of them find this aspect of our faith upsetting, or even offensive.
God with us – Immanuel. It is the heart of it all.
May God go with you today! A Merry Christmas to you all.