Thursday, December 24, 2009

Lessons not learned at Christmas brought out of the shadows by the light of Christ

The lesson of Luke's Christmas story is a personal Bible story favorite. The story is set up by what Walter Brueggeman calls a "protest song" sung by Mary, singing about  how God has brought down the powerful and lifted up the lowly, and her hope for the arrival of her son Jesus to live out what she knows about God.

The arrival that Mary sings about is fulfilled in the kinds of birth Mary gives in an obscure location--not in the context of power and pomp, but in the midst of the lowly. The outcasts are the first to learn about Jesus' birth and they are given the responsibility of spreading that news.

I have found it tempting for as long as I can remember that Christmas is about what I do. Whether it was as a child anticipating the gifts I was going to get, to even as a pastor where I worry so much about the word I'm going to share, to the preparations I make to celebrate the season--my body tells me it's all too much and I am filled with anxiety. I get ill most every December. The coming of God in human flesh is not about what I do. It's not about power or pomp or celebration. The coming of God as a child in our midst is a reminder that God lifts up those who are low in our midst--and that God will not be directed by what we perceive as powerful. God isn't meeting us when we put our best foot forward, but meeting the world where it is most vulnerable, with an invitation to follow the light of Jesus.

May your Christmas holiday be filled with peace, joy and connection with the holy.

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