In many ways, I am not ready for Christmas to come. We light the candles and mark the passage of weeks in Advent, yet the world does not seem ready yet - I am not ready yet. As we approach Christmas, it is a bittersweet time, marking the end of my time with you and stepping into a new wilderness as we seek God's future for us. It's tempting to avoid the celebration so we do not have to step across the threshold of what is known.
As cases of covid-19 continue to rise, we know that our gatherings will be subdued, limited to those in our households and connecting to others by phone and by Skype. It's tempting to delay the celebration until we can be together again and uphold our treasured traditions, yet we know that there will never be a perfect time.
Christ did not come into a perfect world, but in a world full of need. We look for Christ to come again, not to a perfect world, but to a world full of need. We look to Christ for hope that all things will be made right. Our hope is not in a perfect baby leading a perfect life, but in the child born of a virgin, placed in a manger because there was no room in the in. Our hope is in Emmanuel, God-with-us - God who loved us so much as to become human, walking among us, preaching and teaching and healing to his death and resurrection.
And so, as we prepare for an unusual Christmas celebration, I reflect on the words of First Coming by Madeleine L'Engle. I pray that you would find hope and peace in this season.
In the abiding hope of the Risen Lord,
First Coming by Madeleine L’Engle
from The Ordering of Love: The New and Collected Poems of Madeleine L’Engle He did not wait till the world was ready, till men and nations were at peace. He came when the Heavens were unsteady, and prisoners cried out for release. He did not wait for the perfect time. He came when the need was deep and great. He dined with sinners in all their grime, turned water into wine. He did not wait till hearts were pure. In joy he came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt. To a world like ours, of anguished shame he came, and his Light would not go out. He came to a world which did not mesh, to heal its tangles, shield its scorn. In the mystery of the Word made Flesh the Maker of the stars was born. We cannot wait till the world is sane to raise our songs with joyful voice, for to share our grief, to touch our pain, He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!