Tonight – The Holy Night – people will gather to usher in the newest installment in God’s salvation. In my neck of the woods, this installment will be wrapped in the usual trappings of the season – tree, lights, presents, worship, and FOOD! Yet there is a shroud over all these things that are supposed to bring joy and peace. For the indoor tree is artificial, the lights are dimmer LED, the presents are fewer, the worship is sentimental, and the food is in abundance. All this is not a reflection on the truth revealed in the day of Christmas – the birth of forever, the birth of freedom from sin and death, the birth which claims the journey of life everlasting – the birth of the King, the Lord, the Prince of Peace. What is true is that life is real for the poor who use trees to cook their food and heat their huts; the only light is a candle or the sun by day; the only present is a break in the battle; worship is sitting on dirt floors; and the crumbs under the table of the rich (me) is the food.
Christmas is another day for those who have not. Christmas is a big, extravagant party for those who have. Christmas for Jesus is the first day of the rest of the life of the world that is saved through him. Christmas for Jesus is the day before Herod and all the powers that oppose God put up a poster saying… Wanted: Christ…DEAD. They didn’t even have the decency to say dead or alive. But God himself as Jesus scoffed at all the threats by delivering the world – even those powers that oppose him – unto himself beginning that day in Bethlehem. Thanks be to God.
For Christmas 2010…remembering Jesus is recalling the mission – to tell the good news of his birth! Mary, the Mother of God explains this good news perfectly in The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55):
I’m bursting with God-news;
I’m dancing the song of my Savior God.
God took one good look at me, and look what happened—
I’m the most fortunate woman on earth!
What God has done for me will never be forgotten,
the God whose very name is holy, set apart from all others.
His mercy flows in wave after wave
on those who are in awe before him.
He bared his arm and showed his strength,
scattered the bluffing braggarts.
He knocked tyrants off their high horses,
pulled victims out of the mud.
The starving poor sat down to a banquet;
the callous rich were left out in the cold.
He embraced his chosen child, Israel;
he remembered and piled on the mercies, piled them high.
It’s exactly what he promised,
beginning with Abraham and right up to now.