Merry Christmas to all of you! (From the Franklin Grove Church of the Brethren)
For many Christmas is a time to celebrate with gladness and cheer! (I have several friends enjoying their first Christmas as a married couple or with their first kid. I imagine their Christmases will be a particularly joyous!)
But Christmas is funny…Funny because it’s not a happy day for everyone. For some it’s a day full of grief and sadness…remembering family or friends they can’t be with – due to distance or broken relationships…and the first holidays after losing a loved one are always tough. While it seems everyone is happy and celebrating with family and giving gifts, Christmas can be a reminder of your lack of means to give as many gifts as you’d like, a lack of community (particularly of family) in your life or just a lack of happiness, in general.
I think, though, that most of us live somewhere between…Christmas comes and we have some causes for great happiness and joy…some reminders that Christmas is truly a time of joyous celebration…but also some very present reminders that life is imperfect…that pain is real…that wounds still hurt…Reminders that tough ongoing situations are still…well, ongoing…and tough.
Jesus’ birth came at night – when it was dark. In a manger – a place that was lowly. At a time when a lot of people were feeling lost, confused, oppressed, ignored…
Are we any different?
Jesus was born at a time when there was a growing a sense of a longing…a need to reconnect with God in a new and meaningful way.
Are we any different?
Regardless of where you are at this Christmas, invite Emmanuel (“God with us”) into your Christmas and into your life. It doesn’t take a grandiose gesture. It doesn’t take a huge change in your life…Sometimes it can start with a lowly manger – dirty, unkept and full of wild animals.
Jesus came on that first Christmas…and and comes to us this day, as well.
Come Jesus, come into our lives, our homes, our workplaces, our families, our relationships, our communities…but most importantly Lord, come into our hearts and into our minds. Come unexpectedly. Come quietly. Just as you did that first Christmas…come into our lives anew.