A Poem for Christmas Eve
Candlelit church services with wiggly children;
Warmth around a fireplace.
Last minute creating and cooking, shopping and wrapping;
Poignant memories of departed loved ones.
Meals served to thousands without a home;
Grace encounters as Christ comes clothed with gratitude.
The kettle bells ring one more day;
Families brave the weather to visit friends in need.
Divine love comes wrapped in swaddling clothes;
A Virgin Mother nurses her Creator and Redeemer.
Longings for peace arise in hearts;
The Prince of Peace comes near.
A Merry Christmas to all!
Celebrating Advent and enjoying the Christmas
Season warrants reflection of the love of God in Jesus and our response
to this grace through our love for one another. Sometimes this requires
some unlearning. Here are some historical reflections that can help us
and Joseph were not poor and homeless. They were artisans and small
business owners that needed temporary shelter during the census.
were despised by much of society and represented the poor and humble.
How wonderful that they are given revelation of God’s glory in the
humility of Jesus!
Magi from the East arrived about 18 months after the birth of Jesus and
their caravan probably had 40-50 people. It was a major moment of honor
and King Herod, already paranoid and powerful, was deeply threatened.
Interestingly, Christmas was not a universal Holiday in the USA until later in the 19th
C. the combination of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s hearty
celebrations imported from Germany and the marketing of Sears and
Coca-Cola with Santa helped tipped the scales toward joyful gift
is a season of celebration and reflection as we consider the holy
humility of our Lord and the promise of peace in his coming to us. May
we welcome him with open hearts and extend open hands to our neighbors.
In the comic strip Peanuts, Charlie Brown is lamenting that Linus will have to go to school twice as long as others…in order to unlearn everything big sister Lucy (mis)taught him! This humorous aside reveals something important: sometimes we have to shed wrong ideas in order to understand the truth of any matter.
The Advent Season and celebration of Christmas is a wonderful time to reflect on the Incarnation of the Almighty, the arrival of Jesus as God with us. We are astonished at the mystery of Mother Mary nursing her Creator and Redeemer. We offer our worship as we join with the angelic hosts proclaiming peace with the birth of our Lord and Savior. As we, like Mary, treasure in our hearts the profound truth that the crèche of Bethlehem will soon yield to the Cross of Calvary as Jesus atones for the sins of all humankind.
It is also fitting that we unlearn a few things about this moment in history:
- Joseph, Mary and Jesus were not homeless and poor. They we returning to their ancestral home for the census and found overcrowded conditions leading to modest lodgings in a barn. Jesus’ upbringing would be classified today as an artisan, small business owner or working class.
- The Wise Men from the East arrived about 18 months after the birth of Jesus in an entourage of scores of people. These were Persian leaders and scholars alerted to Messiah’s birth by heavenly signs.
- Christmas as a Christian holiday has been controversial from the 4th C to the present, with many rejecting its materialism and syncretism with winter solstice celebrations. As late as the mid-19th century, many churches and even states in the USA has no official Christmas Holiday!
- Jesus is born in a geography that was a crossroads of the continents and cultures. Though considered a country backwater by the Roman Empire, Judea was in fact a place of deep learning and tradition in Judaism as well as a locale where the Greek was the marketplace language and Roman Law provided stability.
Celebrating Christmas is good. Adapting local cultural expressions into Christian worship is accepted by most around the world. As we enjoy this Season, it is fitting to renew our covenant with the Lord and share this Good News with a confused and rebellious world.