A week tonight is Christmas Eve. All December I have felt like a person in the midst of a crowd being carried forward with group momentum. I search for a way out, but there are too many bodies to push past. Do you know that feeling? That longing to jump to the side and watch everyone else pass by for awhile.
This holy season, this time of Advent is so special to me. I need the time to prepare. To think about the story. To call back the wonder and magic. To go to Bethlehem and search the skies for singing angels, look for excited Shepherds and seek out the stable. I want to be with that tiny babe. I want to see his parents. I want to offer my gift to this God-child.
This year, more than others, I think it is more of a need to find Jesus. In the midst of this ever-hardening world that casts out the poor, that cuts care for those in need, that slashes budgets for education and health care, that tramples on hope and peace and twists our God into a vengeful hateful reflection of the worst in humanity, I NEED to find Jesus.
I need to find that sweet child, that gift of love from an all-loving God and place my focus there. For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son…. John 3:16. We know these words. Why do we not “get it.” Why do we not show this good news by our lives and by our actions? Why do we not uphold the teaching and the new commandment given to us by the Son of God himself. Love one another, Jesus told us. Seriously. LOVE each other.
What the heck is wrong with us? Twitter shots. Flaming on social media. Meanness. Bullying. Racism. Sexism. Ageism. Homophobia. Inequality.
Jesus, the one who Christians worship promoted love, tolerance, acceptance, welcome, compassion, openness, hospitality, friendship, joy…. That’s what we are called to do.
Jesus was not a blue-eyed white guy. He was a swarthy middle-easterner. He spoke a language very different from English. He grew up in a world of great political turmoil and religious extremism. He walked with those who were hungry, poor, lonely, destitute and oppressed. He reached out to them and offered comfort, healing and peace. He gave his life for all of us – so that we would “get it” – that death has no sting, that we are forgiven and loved, that God knows each of us deeply and loves us. God sees our perfection, even if we cannot.
Jesus came to us. To live and die like us. To know our struggle and challenges. To point us to truths and a way of life that is a pathway to happiness and joy. He came to save us from our sins. To bring us to a new understanding of our connectedness. That message has really been hi-jacked, even by those who would call themselves Christian.
I need to meet that baby this year at Bethlehem. We all do. Darkness cannot stand in the light of His presence. We need that light. We need to share it. We need to be beacons with the Christ light shining within us.
In this last week before Christmas, I invite you to set aside some time and in the quiet, let that light come to you. Let it fill you. Let it shine in you. Let it speak to you of your worth, your value, the gift you are to this world.
Love came to us at Christmas. Love comes to us each moment of our day. Oh, how we need that Divine Love at work in our lives and in this world.
Come, let us adore him.
Here is today’s morning prayer service.