Christmas Eve

Scripture: Luke 2:1-20
Saturday December 24, 2016

Focus passage: While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby.  She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the guesthouse. Luke 2:6-7

We have been called to actively wait since the beginning of Advent.  Each week we have lit one more candle on the Advent wreath, symbolizing our waiting for the coming of Christ anew into the world.  It is now Christmas Eve.
How does this Christmas season find you?
Tired, or more honestly exhausted?
Excited and anxious?
At a space of in-between?
Stressed or content?
Maybe just a mixture of all of the above.
My husband Dan and I hide the gifts we have for one another in our family during the Advent season, creating a sort of Easter egg hunt, if you will, when it comes time to wrap the gifts.  Our tradition has been not to put many packages under the tree until the children go to bed on Christmas Eve. 
One year we just couldn’t remember where we placed the presents for the dogs.  To know my husband, this really shouldn’t surprise you because he is always forgetting where he placed something.  So at 11 p.m. he headed out to the only store that is open at 11 p.m. on Christmas Eve, Walgreens, and he said you could smell the desperation in the air.  Shoppers circled aisles of picked over shelves with only a few items left, with dazed and confused expressions on their faces.
While we have come to remind ourselves that we don’t make Christmas happen.  Our gift exchange doesn’t make it happen, we all still struggle with the materialism and consumerism of the holiday season.
I invite you to take a moment and read the story again.  Christmas reminds us that in all of our activity and attempts to make meaning of our world, God is with us.
Incarnation by its very nature is the melding of the sacred with the ordinariness of this world.  And the story from Luke’s gospel is strong cocktail of sacred and earthiness.  Emmanuel, God-with-us, doesn’t get more real than straw, an unwed pregnant teenager, a long hard journey, overcrowded sleeping quarters, labor, pain, blood, birth and arrival.

Incarnate God, may I make room for your presence in my words and actions today.  Amen.

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