What Now?

Lectionary Passage:  Matthew 2: 1-12

2In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, 2asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” 3When King Herod heard this, he was frightened, and all Jerusalem with him; 4and calling together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it has been written by the prophet: 6‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who is to shepherd my people Israel.’” 7Then Herod secretly called for the wise men and learned from them the exact time when the star had appeared. 8Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage.” 9When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising, until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. 11On entering the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage. Then, opening their treasure chests, they offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they left for their own country by another road.

New Year’s Day is always somewhat mixed for me, filled with hope for the future, maybe a chance at a “reset” but also regrets for what the past year has left undone and a sadness for what is left behind.  I always have this feeling that I’m somehow leaving those that are not here to celebrate behind, like I’m moving into a place where they are not.  This year is especially bittersweet.  The good part is that 2020 is over.  I don’t know about you, but I’m glad to see this one leave.  But as I write this, there are officially 346,859 Americans that are not stepping into the new year with us because of Covid-19. One of those is my funny, flamboyant friend Brian.  And left behind with him is my friend Lahonda and sweet Maynard, the wonder dog.  Brian and Lahonda were musicians.  Maynard just sort of had his own song.  The music is still here but it is different.

This Scripture is used for Epiphany, which is not until January 6th but is celebrated by most churches this Sunday.  But it’s also a good reading for New Year’s, for that time of resetting what is normal, of rethinking what it is that is your life, and perhaps figuring out a way to carry the past with you in a new way. Now is the time to go back to what is “normal” (or in our case, parademic-normal).  But, regardless, what does that really mean?  What do we do after it all ends?  What now?  The truth is, “after” is when it begins, “after” is when it becomes real, and “after” is the whole reason we do this at all.

The text that we read begins by setting us “in the time of King Herod”.  And in it, we find that the last question of Advent comes not at Christmas but afterward and is asked not by an individual but by a group.  They believe that the star (or, for some, an unusual conjunction of heavenly bodies that produces an especially bright light—hence the “Christmas Star” name given to the recent conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in our solar system) marks the birth of a special child destined to be a king.  And they ask, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?

And so Herod hears that a king had been born in Bethlehem.  Well, the formula is simple—a king is born, but a king is already here; and in Herod’s mind and the minds of all those who follow him, there is room for only one king.  The passage says that King Herod was frightened and all Jerusalem with him.  They probably were pretty fearful.  After all, there was a distinct possibility that their world was about to change.  It seemed that the birth of this humble child might have the ability to shake the very foundations of the earth and announce the fall of the mighty.  Things would never be the same again.  So Herod relies on these wisest ones in his court.  The writer of Matthew’s Gospel says that they’re from the East.  Some traditions hold that these wise ones were Magi, a Priestly caste of Persian origin that followed Zoroastrianism and practiced the interpretation of dreams and portents and astrology.  Other traditions depict them with different ethnicities as the birth of this Messiah begins to move into the whole world.  In fact, the early Western church gave them names that depict this.  (No, these names are not in the Bible.)  But according to tradition, Melchior was a Persian scholar, Caspar was a learned man from India, and Balthazar, a scholar with a Babylonian name.  These three areas represented the known world at that point.  The Messiah had come to every nook and cranny of the world.

But, regardless of who they were, somewhere along the way, they had heard of the birth of this king and came to the obvious place where he might be—in the royal household.  So, sensing a rival, Herod sends these “wise ones” to find the new king so that he could “pay homage” to him.  We of course know that this was deceitful.  His intent was not to pay homage at all, but to destroy Jesus and stop what was about to happen to his empire.  It was the only way that he could preserve what he had.

According to the passage, the wise men know that Christ was born; they needed God’s guidance, though, to find where Christ was.  When they get to the place where the star has stopped, the passage tells us that they were “overwhelmed with joy”.  They knelt down and paid the new king homage and offered him gifts fit for a king.  Even though later interpreters have often tried to place specific meanings on these gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, it is possible that the writer of the Gospel of Matthew simply thought that these gifts, exotic and expensive as they were, were gifts that would be worthy of a great and mighty king.  They were gifts of joy, gifts of gratitude, gifts of celebration. 

And then the passage tells us that, heeding a warning in a dream, these wise and learned (and probably powerful and wealthy) members of the court of Herod, left and returned to their own country, a long and difficult journey through the Middle Eastern desert.  But rather than returning to their comfortable lives and their secure and powerful places in the court of Herod, they left and went a different way.  They knew they had to go back to life.  But it didn’t have to be the same.

We often profess that Jesus came to change the world.  But that really didn’t happen.  Does that mean that this whole Holy Birth was a failure, just some sort of pretty, romantic story in the midst of our sometimes-chaotic life?  Maybe Jesus never intended to change the world at all; maybe Jesus, Emmanuel, God with Us, came into this world to change us, to invite us to travel a different way.  Maybe it has to do with what we do after.  It has to do with how we choose to go back to our lives.  Do we just pick up where we left off?  Or do we, like those wise visitors choose to go home by another way?  Do we choose, then, to change our lives, to listen to the familiar music in a new way?

God did not just visit our little earth so long ago and then return to wherever God lives.  God came as Emmanuel, God with Us, and that has never changed.  The birth of Jesus means that God was born in a specific person in a specific place.  The Christmas story affirms to us that God is here, that the Messiah for whom we had waited has come, that we are in God’s hands (and God is in ours).  But the Epiphany story moves it beyond the manger.  And all of a sudden we are part of the story.  We are part of the Incarnation of God, the manifestation of God’s Presence here on our little earth.  The God in whose hands we rest danced into our very lives and is now all over our hands.  It is our move.  God was not just born into the child Jesus; God is born into us, into humanity.  And the world really hasn’t changed.  I don’t know. Maybe it never will. But we have.  Our music is the same; but it sounds different to us.  Because, it’s up to us.  Christ’s coming means that we need to get going.  We are called to change the world.

When the song of the angel is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone, 
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
     
To find the lost,
     To heal the broken,
     To feed the hungry,
     To release the prisoner,
     To rebuild the nations,
     To bring peace among brothers and sisters,
     To make music in the heart.
                                                               
(Howard Thurman)

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, ‘Give me a light that I might go safely out into the darkness.’ And he replied, ‘Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God.  That shall be more to you than a light, and safer than a known way.’ (M.L. Haskins)

Happy New Year!

Shelli

Made Flesh

Scripture Passage:  John 1: 1-14

1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. 6There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. 8He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. 9The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. 12But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. 14And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.

The Word became flesh.  Think about it.  God’s Spirit, God’s breath, the Hebrew language refers to it as ruah, the very essence and being of God was suddenly given flesh and bone and cartilage and hands and feet and all those very human things that we humans require to be here on earth.  In other words, the Divine became human, if only for a while.  That tells us that God does not desire a partner, or a relative, or a close friend.  God desires to live with each of us as one of us.  The miracle of Christmas is not just that God came, although that would be miracle enough.  The miracle of Christmas is that God takes on flesh. 

In The Message paraphrase of the Bible, Eugene Peterson says that “The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood.”  That’s actually a little disconcerting when you think about it.  That means that you’ll see God when you’re out walking your dog or getting your mail.  It means that you’ll run into God in the grocery store when you’re in a terrible hurry and don’t have time. It means that God will show up at your door when the house is a wreck and you are least expecting visitors.

As the Scripture says, in the beginning was God and in the end will be God and in between?  In between, God is with us.  In between, God is one of us.  In between, is us.  That is the very mystery of Christmas.  So what do we do then with a God who is with us?  God is not limited to this sanctuary or to the places in our lives where we’ve sort of cleaned up a bit.  God comes into place of darkness and places of light.  God comes into profound poverty and into gated communities.  God is with us every step of our lives.  God is one of us in our flesh and our bone.  God has moved in.

So, now it’s our move.  I suppose we could just pick up the Christmas decorations and put them back in the box for another year.  I suppose we could just go back to whatever we define as our normal lives.  But the problem is that God is with us.  God lives with us, here, in the neighborhood.  Everywhere we turn, we will meet God—over and over and over again.  And once you’ve met God, you can’t go back to the way it was before.

The problem with God is not that God comes at times that might be a little inconvenient for us; the problem with God is that God never goes away.  God is all over us.  That first Christmas was God’s unveiling, God’s coming out of the darkness and the shadows and showing us what we could not see before.  God poured the Divine into the lowliest of humanity, into a dirty animal stall, and began to pick us up so we could walk with God. 

And we are asked to follow.  We are asked to become something new.  We are asked to now become the very reflection of the God that is here everywhere.  Thomas Merton once said that “the Advent mystery is the beginning of the end in all of us that is not yet Christ.”  It’s Christmas.  Now is the time.  Let us go see this thing that has happened.

God is closer to me than I am to myself. (Meister Eckhart)

Thank you for joining me on this Advent journey!  I hope it gave you some hope and some light in this very-hard time in which we live right now.  Now I’m going to take just a small break.  BUT…I’m back in  practice, so I’m going to try to continue (but not every day!).  I’ll continue to post at least once a week around the Lectionary passages and maybe sometimes you’ll get an extra post in a week if I just have something else to say! SO, look for a post Sunday morning or earlier for the Sunday after Christmas and then a post for Epiphany Sunday early next week and that will be our plan for now.  Thanks again for joining me! Have a wonderful Christmas! 

Merry Christmas!

Shelli

The Journey Beyond Ourselves

Water13Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan, to be baptized by him. 14John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now; for it is proper for us in this way to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. 16And when Jesus had been baptized, just as he came up from the water, suddenly the heavens were opened to him and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, the Beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 17: 1-9)

I remember when John baptized him.  Jesus, dressed in white, got into the water and John pushed his head under.  As he emerged, the heavens seemed to open as if God was pleased.  It was special, sort of an affirmation of who he was, who I had known he was all along.  In that moment, I began to understand that his role was bigger than our family, bigger than my son, even bigger than these that he had gathered around him.  I knew that but in that moment I began to understand it.  I was here to walk with him as he prepared not only to be a rabbi, a teacher, but to take on the ministry to which God called him.  And in that moment in the waters of re-creation, his ministry began.  This is the moment when God claims this child of God as the One who God calls.  This was the becoming and the beginning that he needed.  I had to begin to let go of what I knew.

I thought back to that time in Jerusalem when we found him in the temple with the rabbis.  My first reaction was relief that he was found.  I wanted to take him and hold him and never let him loose again.  My next reaction was anger that he had worried us so.  But the scene of him sitting there listening to the rabbis, understanding more than most adults will ever understand, made up for it all.  I knew then that he was beyond me, that I was here only for a time to help lead him to what he was called to do.  I knew that he was meant to be something more even than what I had thought.

So many of us get so wrapped up in those things that we can control or those that make us at least feel in control.  We want to be safe and comfortable.  So in this Christmas season, we often tend to wrap ourselves in our shopping, our plans for meals, and our family gatherings, our traditions of the way we do things and the expectations that they will be like they’ve been before.  These memories remind us all that we are continuously called beyond ourselves.  God calls us to newness, even in the midst of the familiar traditions that are so much a part of us.  That is the way God transforms us.  That is the way God moves us beyond ourselves.  That is the way God loves us.

God travels wonderful paths with human beings; God does not arrange matters to suit our opinions and views, does not follow the path that humans would like to prescribe for God.  God’s path is free and original beyond all our ability to understand or to prove.   (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

FOR TODAY:  How is God moving you beyond yourself?  How is God bringing newness even to the traditions that you hold so closely?

Peace to you as we come closer to that holiest of nights,

Shelli

When You Come to the Gate

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The Eastern Gate (or Golden Gate), Jerusalem (sealed in 1541)

When they were approaching Jerusalem, at Bethphage and Bethany, near the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples 2and said to them, “Go into the village ahead of you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find tied there a colt that has never been ridden; untie it and bring it. 3If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ just say this, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here immediately.’” 4They went away and found a colt tied near a door, outside in the street. As they were untying it, 5some of the bystanders said to them, “What are you doing, untying the colt?” 6They told them what Jesus had said; and they allowed them to take it. 7Then they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their cloaks on it; and he sat on it. 8Many people spread their cloaks on the road, and others spread leafy branches that they had cut in the fields.9Then those who went ahead and those who followed were shouting, “Hosanna! Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord! 10Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David! Hosanna in the highest heaven!” 11Then he entered Jerusalem and went into the temple; and when he had looked around at everything, as it was already late, he went out to Bethany with the twelve. (Mark 11: 1-11)

I remember that day that he entered Jerusalem.  Was that only a week ago?  It seems like a lifetime ago.  It was celebratory and wonderful.  The crowds were at ease, laughing, having a good time.  The young colt was almost comic relief as Jesus’ feet hung down and almost dragged the stones beneath.  After the long trip through the desert, this was the entrance into the city.  No one knew what would happen.  No one knew whether he would be accepted as a leader the way he finally began to be in Galilee or whether it would turn terribly wrong.  We know how it turned out now, but at the time we were holding onto hope that it might go smoothly.

I also remember that by the time we reached the gate to the city, our crowd had dwindled considerably.  Where did everyone go?  I supposed back to their lives.  How many times do we choose to return to our lives rather than stepping forward through the gate?  For me, I am so grateful that I did not do that years ago when the angel came to me.  Perhaps my life would have been easier, more predictable, certainly safer.  But it would not have been the right life for me.  This, this was the life that God envisioned for me.  That’s why it feels so right.  Sometimes it is painful.  Sometimes it is downright scary. But more often it is filled with the glorious blessings I’ve had.

I wonder where most of us would have been that day had we known.  It would have been so easy to turn back, so tempting to try to convince him to turn back, to go elsewhere with his ministry where he would be accepted and even welcomed.  But I understand now that God calls us to walk through the wilderness, to traverse the unknown, to step forward through the gates that life presents in faith.  God doesn’t call us to walk roads that have been paved over and over by others but rather to embark on the rough-hewed roads that need our work.  It is only then that we can become who God intends us to be.  It is only then that it feels right.  For me, it has been the difference between an easy life and one that is truly blessed.  I pray that the generations that follow me will grasp that and have the courage to go through the gate.

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year, Give me a light that I might go safely out into the darkness. And he replied, Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God. That shall be more to you than a light, and safer than a known way. (M. L. Haskins)

FOR TODAY:  What gate are you being called to enter?

Peace to you as we come closer to that holiest of nights,

Shelli

What It’s All About

resurrection-lightEarly on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. 2So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.”… 

 11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her. (John 20: 1-2, 11-18)

These hours have been such a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions.  But in this moment, I am beginning to see what it was all about.  I want to hold her and comfort her and explain it all but Jesus’ young friend Mary is running around with a mix of hysteria and excitement.  Maybe she, too, is beginning to understand.  I always knew who he was, knew from that surreal night when the angel came.  I probably would have thought I was losing it but Joseph had had a dream too.   Oh, that seems so long ago and yet, I remember it like it happened just a second ago. No one really understood.  No one ever understood.  But we did.  We knew who he was.  But not until this moment did I really grasp it.

I hope that the world does not take this as a do-over of some sort.  Because it is all part of it—everything up to this moment and everything that comes to be.  All of time and all of space and all creation points to this and is illuminated by it.  All of those generations that carried the story to me and the generations that stretch out beyond where I will ever see are in this moment.  I now understand that that strange brilliance that led us to Bethlehem and then stayed with us through the night that he was born has been with me always.  And he showed me that.  But I didn’t understand until now.

The memories come flooding back to me now—more than three decades of memories.  They will take several days to process.  But now they are not memories wrapped in grief.  I understand that they are the story—his story, my story, Joseph’s story, the world’s story.  God came into the world and walked with me.  God invited me to dance with the Divine, to touch, to love, to hold the Godself.  There was nothing special about me.  I have always been so ordinary.  But now I see that my life is an incredible mix of the ordinary and the sacred.  God has come.  And now I understand that God was always here.  And will be forevermore. “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.  Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed.”  I do feel blessed.  I pray that the world will begin to understand.

There was, indeed, something I had missed about Christianity, and now all of a sudden I could see what it was.  It was the Resurrection!  How could I have been a church historian and a person of prayer who loved God and still not known that the most fundamental Christian reality is not the suffering of the cross but the life it brings?…The foundation of the universe for which God made us, to which God draws us, and in which God keeps us is not death, but joy.  (Roberta Bondi)

FOR TODAY:  Begin to make room.  There’s more to the story than you thought.

Peace to you in this often-hectic week,

Shelli

Gaudete

joy14Sing aloud, O daughter Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter Jerusalem! 15The Lord has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more. 16On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: Do not fear, O Zion; do not let your hands grow weak. 17The Lord, your God, is in your midst. (Zephaniah 3: 14-17a)

This past Sunday, Gaudete Sunday (“Rejoice”), our third candle on the Advent wreath was the candle of joy.  I think that joy is hard for many of us to get our head around.  We Western Christians spend a lot of time pursuing happiness.  Our culture promises happiness if we will only…if we will only buy this or wear this or eat this or do this or go here or believe this way.  Many of our churches promise that God will shower us in happiness and prosperity if we will only…if we will only pray this way and do this and believe this and be this.  But happiness is elusive.  Happiness is fleeting.  Happiness is temporary.  But joy…God desires not that we be happy but that we have joy.  Joy is deep and abiding.  Joy overcomes.  Joy overpowers.  Joy can exist in the midst of the darkness—perhaps even break through the darkness given the chance.  Joy is found not in ourselves but beyond ourselves.  Joy is not something we pursue; joy is there for us already.

In this Advent season, we look for the signs that we so desperately want to see that will confirm God’s Presence.  But the signs are everywhere.  Rejoice!  Perhaps we are so busy trying to make our lives work out the way we want them to work out, to work out in the way that we think will bring us the most happiness, we are missing what is right in front of us.  As we near that holiest of nights, as we prepare to light our candles and sign Silent Night, and, if even for one moment, to feel the joy again, we need to practice by opening our eyes to God who, even now, is in our midst.

We have ten more days.  (Aaaaaggghhh!)  OK, let’s try again.  We have ten more days.  Rejoice!  The true joy of Christmas is that no matter what the darkness holds, no matter how all-encompassing it feels, no matter how many times our journey seems to lead us into quicksand, we are reminded that God comes into the tiniest of places and to the lowliest of spaces and claims them.  God claims us.  God claims you.  How can you NOT rejoice?  The celebration of Christmas reminds us that even though happiness is sometimes elusive, the joy of God-with-us settles into our soul and our minds and even our bones and stays.  God does not just come once a year in that magical candle-lighting, Silent Night-moment.  The Lord, your God, is in your midst.  The darkness may still surround you, but Joy has come and claimed a home.  Rejoice!  Gaudete!

The fullness of joy is to behold God in everything. (Julian of Norwich)

FOR TODAY:  Look around.  God is in your midst.  How can you NOT rejoice?

Grace and Peace,

Shelli

Joy to the World!

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1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2He was in the beginning with God. 3All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being 4in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. 5The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. (John 1: 1-5)

 

Joy to the World , the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King; Let every heart prepare Him room, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven and nature sing, And Heaven, and Heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the World, the Savior reigns! Let men their songs employ; While fields and floods, rocks, hills and plains Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat the sounding joy, Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow, Nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow Far as the curse is found, Far as the curse is found, Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace, And makes the nations prove The glories of His righteousness, And wonders of His love, And wonders of His love, And wonders, wonders, of His love.

(Isaac Watts, 1719)

 

The day has dawned!  Sometime in the night, God tiptoed into the world and made a home.  And the world will never be the same again.  Most of us barely noticed.  Most of the world woke this morning and went on with their lives.  That’s OK.  If God had wanted fanfare, then I supposed God would have come with a bit more flourish and drama, perhaps calling ahead or something.  But instead, God enters as one of us, quietly slipping the Divine into our midst with as little noise as possible.  (Although I suppose it’s hard to enter quietly with a multitude of angels in tow!)

 

When Isaac Watts first wrote the familiar Christmas carol “Joy to the World”, he didn’t mean for it to be a carol at all.  The words were originally written to celebrate the triumphant second coming of Christ rather than the birth that we celebrate this morning.  I think that’s the reason it works, though.  God’s coming into the world is not merely something that happened more than 2,000 years ago.  Today is not the celebration of the anniversary of Jesus’ birth as if it is some sort of historic relic that we hold; rather, today–THIS day–IS the coming of God into our midst, the realization that even now, Heaven is spilling into our lives, making a home, and Heaven and Nature are singing together.

 

God comes quietly, tiptoeing into our lives each and every day of our existence.  A new Light has dawned and every day is Christmas!  So when the Holy and Sacred dawn in our life, are we called to join in loud acclaim, or are we called to silently open our our lives and let the Divine spill in?  With all respect to Mr. Watts, I’m not a big watcher of the “Second Coming” of Christ.  I don’t know what that looks like and the Scriptures are not that specific about it.  I think the point of Christmas is that the Lord is come (as in already)!  God came quietly into our world as the Christ child more than 2,000 years ago.  It was the First Day of the new dawn.  And the Light has been rising each every day since.  And for every heart that quietly opens and makes room for God to tiptoe in and make a home, the Light becomes brighter.  Rather than waiting for God’s coming, let us see that God is here.  Let us see that every day is Christmas.  (And, along the same lines, perhaps every day is the triumphant coming for which we are looking until God’s Kingdom and the recreation of all is complete!)  Joy to the World!  The Lord is come!

 

The Lord is come!  Let us now go and see this thing that has taken place!

 

The Christmas spirit is that hope which tenaciously clings to the hearts of the faithful and announces in the face of any Herod the world can produce and all the inn doors slammed in our faces and all the dark nights of our souls, that with God all things still are possible, that even now unto us a Child is born! (Ann Weems)

Merry Christmas!

Shelli

 

Thank you for joining me this season as we prepared ourselves for this glorious day!  Now it’s time for me to take a little break!  I’ll be back every day during Lent (which is incredibly soon this year!) and perhaps I can get my act together to post some other posts in the meantime!  Have a joyous Christmas! (Because THAT season has just begun!)   And keep dancing to God!

Grace and Peace,

Shelli