WSUMC and Roberts Memorial UMC join together on this Third Day of Christmas to proclaim the Hope, Joy, Peace, Love, and Light of Christ.
The birth of Christ is disruptive to the devastating pain of human frailty. The gift of God in Christ flips all of the societal expectations upside down, and whether shepherds who come in lowliness, or Magi who come bringing valuable gifts, the incarnation invites us as one humanity to join in the noise making. For in Christ, God has won out. The promise of new life is declared, not just possible, but a realized truth.
The paradox of Advent is that even in the darkness, there is a light. Even in our brokenness, there is healing. Even in our weariness, there is rest. The Advent promise is that the gift of God comes to offer light in the midst of our weary world.
After a year that presented a plethora of challenges, it may be our desire to skip Advent and dive straight into Christmas. But not so fast! The good news of Emmanuel, God with us, is that we don’t have to skip the weariness and brokenness, or act as if everything is ok. The good news is that God meets us in the darkness. This is Advent.
The celebration of Christmas is not just about the hope and promise that the world will be made whole. It’s not just about God coming so “everyone else” can receive new life. Christmas is about acknowledging the brokenness in your own life, and the promise of God in Christ to make you whole, to give you hope, to give you new life.
Why do people say politics and religion shouldn’t mix? Even our favorite Christmas hymns mix politics into the birth story of Christ. Proclaiming God’s gift of peace in Christ is politically motivating, and it calls us to a greater understanding of the joy we proclaim when we sing, “Rejoice, Rejoice, Immanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!”
Who were the Magi? And what’s their importance in the Biblical story? Perhaps with a Hallmark picture in mind, we place too much importance on the details, and don’t focus enough on the child they came to see.
The Grinch, like the shepherds, is considered an outcast – a dark soul. Yet, it is into such darkness that God sends the great light of the child, Jesus. When such a great light shines in the dark of each of our lives, and the darkness of our shared lives, humanity is offered the healing of shalom, in which we all unite as one great body praising the love of God in Christ.
“Mary Did you Know” is a horrible song, which assumes that this pre-teen unwed pregnant female couldn’t have possible been intelligent enough to know about the child she carried. But in her own words, Mary makes clear, she knows the goodness of God that will come from the baby boy, who will one day save the nations.
Max (the dog) and Joseph have a similar reaction to the invitation to be involved, a strong and resounding “no.” But when Immanuel, God with us, invades the messiness of our lives, our response quickly becomes one of faithfulness, not fear.