Uplift – December 23, 2016

Posted on Posted in Friday Uplift

“And Mary gave birth to her firstborn son, and wrapped him in bands of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.”
Luke 2: 7

Christmas is in two days.
One if you celebrate on Christmas Eve.
And in the midst of meals and gifts and traditions and gatherings,
it can be really, really easy to lose sight of what this actually means.
Honestly, the culture wars over red cups or saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas don’t help this either. None of those things matter.
Really. They don’t.
But I think for a lot of us, family and friends and traditions ARE important.
Part of what makes Christmas so great is all of those things.
And we shouldn’t feel guilty for loving them.
Yet all those things have a tendency to drown out the reason we gather in the first place.

I KNOW.  I just basically said to remember the reason for the season and I’m so sorry.
But as cheesy as that line is and as much as I had hoped it would never cross my lips – it’s kind of true.
Jesus was born in a manger because there was no room in the inn, and we have continued to crowd him out of our busy holiday schedules ever since.
It’s true. One year, my husband and I had 6 Christmases in 7 days over a span of roughly 600 miles.
And you know what? It was hard. It was stressful. And it was exhausting.
Sure, there was joy in there too.  We saw our families, shared meals and memories, but we didn’t get to take time to sit and be.
Be in awe of what Christmas means.
We didn’t take time to come to the manger and be present in the quiet beauty and simplicity of what happens there on that holy night.

That little baby, that tiny person, is the love of God made human.
God’s love. Right there.
That’s what we forget sometimes.
Yes we remember it’s about Jesus being born, but it’s about God’s love becoming a person.
It’s stunning and so beautiful and I can’t believe sometimes we miss it.

Sometimes music says things better than I can –
(ok most of the time)
and there’s a gorgeous choral piece by Edwin Fissinger called “Love Came Down at Christmas” that I listen to when I feel myself losing sight of this love.  (Listen here)

They sing:
Love came down at Christmas,
Love all lovely, Love Divine;
Love was born at Christmas,
Star and angels gave the sign.
Worship we the Godhead,
Love Incarnate, Love Divine;

Worship we our Jesus:
But wherewith for sacred sign
Love be yours and love be mine,
Love to God and all men,
Love for plea and gift and sign.

Love was born at Christmas.
Oh that’s just such a lovely image.

So uplifters, this is my wish for you this Christmas – that you take time.
That you find a church to attend, wherever you are, even if you haven’t been to one in awhile, and take time to come and sit and be in the presence of Emmanuel.

God with us.

This holy day is about God making the choice to come and be one of us, to be with us in this broken and messed up world.
And we can’t forget it.
Because it is this truth that gets us through the next year.

God with us.

We’ve been reflecting on darkness the last few weeks here in our weekly uplifts, and now, finally, we celebrate the light breaking in.
So go to church. Take time.
Pick up a candle and be a witness to Christ’s coming into the world again.