Claiming the promise

I’m listening to Christmas music as I write, trying to get in the spirit. Some of this stuff is awful. It’s trite and saccharin-sweet. When someone does try a fresh take, it usually goes horribly awry. (“Deck the Halls” on pan flute, anyone? A punk rock “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear?” No.) I have Sufjan Stevens (because I’m cool like that), but I don’t expect “Come On! Let’s Boogey to the Elf Dance!” to reach classic status. But every now and then something beautiful comes on, like John Lennon’s modern classic “Happy Xmas (War is Over),” that reminds us what it’s all about.

The Magnificat, our scripture for this week is one of those beautiful moments. Mary is filled with exuberant joy. She affirms the promises God has made to her people and rests in the hope of their fulfillment in her child. To do this, she pulls from centuries of tradition, stealing lines from the prophets and the psalms of her people, phrases that could easily become dead cliches after that long wait for the Messiah. Mary claims those lines as the truth of God’s presence in her life.

I’m starting to feel it. I want to borrow from Mary what she borrowed from those who came before her. I want to claim those promises as my own: “You, Almighty, have done great things for me.” And I want to make good those promises for others: “You have filled the hungry with good things.”

But let’s be clear: this is not the one time of the year we are nice to each other, but the renewal of our spirits so that we might live differently throughout the year. The presence of God in our lives is not one day, but the great pattern of history. Every day, every week, every month for years and decades and centuries, God is there with promises and hope and the chance to heal a broken world.

We’ll celebrate our community meal this week at Wes, Kristin and Teri’s and talk about the truths and promises we can claim for God in this season of joy. We’ll keep it easy with some pizza. If Jesus calls you to donate or bring salad or dessert, by all means take heed. Please call the church number at 214. 233-4605 if you need directions or more info.

Finally, please pray for Courtney’s rest and quick return.


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