12/20/2019 4:42:27 PM
Reflection: Straight into Christmas
Sometimes even the lectionary (our three year cycle of Bible Readings) feels like it skips the end of Advent and moves straight into Christmas. The reading from the gospel according to Matthew assigned for today (Matthew 1:18-25) is Jesus' birth moment. We're given the space to not only tell the story of Jesus' birth (like we are doing with our Christmas pageant at 9:00 am worship), but we can also start moving away from the expectation of Advent and into the event that is Christmas. Many of us, I think, do our best to make Christmas into something "big." We decorate, bake cookies, shop for gifts, and let the stress of the season interrupt a good night's sleep. Even if we prefer a simpler Christmas, there's still something different about this season. Our expectation can only last so long before we jump straight into Christmas.
But there's still, in theory, two more sleeps until Christmas Eve. There’s a gap until Christmas comes. Yet, we all know that the gap isn't empty. Your Christmas-to-do list is still long—as well as everything else your life needs you to do. There's still a lot of doing to do before Tuesday night. Yet we should, if we can, take a moment to also realize that something is also being done to us. Rev. Dr. Martin Otto Zimmann wrote in the Advent Devotion we're using this special prayer: Blessed Immanuel, thank you for becoming one with us that we might aspire to be one with you through word, water, wine and bread. With each passing day, we ask that you continue to draw us closer to you so that we might become the people you intended in a Creation free from sin and avarice. The story of Advent is also a reminder that our gap-to-Christmas is one that is full of more than just our doing; it's also full of God coming to us. We might think that we're getting closer to Christmas but the reality is that God is bringing Christmas closer to us. And, as we worship, pray and share in Jesus' body and blood, may the gap-til-Christmas help make us into the Christmas people God knows we can become.