that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their
flock by night. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of
the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them,
‘Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the
people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is the
Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped
in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.’ And suddenly there was with the angel
a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying,
‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favours!’
We're almost there. It's
Christmas Eve Day. Are we ready for the arrival of Baby Jesus? Of
course not. Fortunately, God-with-us, Emmanuel, comes knowing that we
fall short of the mark, that we don't measure up, that we are still made
to give and forgive, to be in relationship, to reconcile and repent, to
love and be loved. Here's the Good News for this day: we may not be
ready for Jesus, but Jesus is ready for us.
We're almost there.
Christmas Eve is tomorrow. But while we may be excited about our
imminent arrival at Christmas, let's do ourselves a favor and enjoy this
last full day of Advent. Let's take some time to reflect, to sit quietly, to just be. Le'ts
open ourselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Let's enjoy the last
bit of this journey. We're almost there. But were not there yet - so
let's enjoy and give thanks for where we are.
With Christmas just a couple of
days away, I'm feeling a bit harried. There's just too much to do.
However, when I begin to feel overwhelmed, I pause and take a deep
breath and try to remember where I am: Advent. Right until the end of
this season we are supposed to watch and wait, be present in the moment
so we can be present for the arrival of the Christ child.
Too much going on? Take a deep breath. Jesus is coming.
Today is the winter solstice.
This evening members of the Upper Valley Community will come together to
remember those who without adequate, stable housing who have died over
the past year. For many, this is a time of joy and celebration. But
for others, this season of long nights and frigid temperatures is an
hour to worry about survival. As we prepare room for the Christ child
in our hearts, let us honor the baby Jesus by rededicating ourselves to
finding and preparing rooms for our homeless neighbors in need.
N.B. For my Upper Valley readers, there will be a vigil at Tri-County CAP on 57 Mechanic Street in Lebanon to remember those who died over the past year. Please join us if you can at 5:30.
Yesterday was one of those days when the bad news kept on coming.
The Russian ambassador was murdered in Ankarra. A terrorist drove into a
crowded Christmas market in Berlin. Closer to home, the final
consequential act of the 2016 presidential election took place reminding
us of the divisions in our own country. It was a dark day.
as I reflect on this, I contemplate the funeral service I will lead
later this afternoon and the conversation I had with the family, which
does not belong to the church I serve, and I have hope. The
family members have a variety of different understandings about religion
yet their focus was on celebrating the life of their beloved and
supporting each other during a difficult time. In contrast to the
darkness, in a moment opened by death, the light shone through.
We welcome the light during this season of Advent because we know its
source and we recognize our need. Welcoming the Christ child into our
lives is the way we who follow the path of Jesus can face the darkness.
to watching moon shots when I was a kid. The countdown before the
mighty Saturn V rocket blasted off built a sense of anticipation. Going
into outer space was a big deal. It still is, even if bumming a ride
from the Russians to get to the space station may not have the same
Advent can be like this too. Some of us have
been doing it for so long, we've lost sight of how exciting this season
should be. Perhaps we're just too caught up in the details. But let's
not lose sight of the fact that we're preparing for something
remarkable. And it's almost here!
So get excited.
It's just five days until Christmas. Which means we still have some
time to prepare for the amazing thing that God has done, will do, and is
doing in and through Jesus.