Isaiah 9: 2-7 (Inclusive Text)
The people walking in darkness are seeing a brilliant light-upon those who dwell in a land of deep shadows light is shining! God, you have made the nation greater – you have brought them abundant joy! They celebrate in your presence as with the harvest celebrations, or as warriors celebrate when dividing spoils. For the yoke that burdened them, the weight on their shoulders, the rod of their oppressors – you have shattered it, as you did at the defeat of Midian. For every boot that tramped in battle, every cloak that was dragged through blood, is now used as fuel for the fire. For a child is born to us, an heir is given us, upon whose shoulders dominion will rest. This One shall be called Wonderful Counselor, the Strength of God, Eternal Protector, Champion of Peace. This dominion, and this peace, will grow without end, with David’s throne and realm sustained with justice and fairness now and forever. The zeal of YHWH Omnipotent will accomplish it!
Merry Christmas to you all! I hope for you a long string of days of rest and beauty. And I invite anyone in town to join us Sunday, especially if you are one, like me, who can feel a little low on the 26th wondering what to do with all the longing and desire you got in touch with over Advent. We have been waiting in the darkness just before dawn for the past four weeks and now on Christmas Eve we slip into another liturgical moment as we are invited to ‘taste and see the goodness of God.’
Thankfully we have twelve holy days and twelve starry nights to grasp this mystery of the incarnation– God dwelling among us. It is a powerful moment which reminds us that it is good to be human, good to live on this earth, good to have a body, because God in Jesus chose and said “yes” to our humanity.
As a child I saved my most important prayers for Christmas eve, sensing that it is a ‘thin place’ in the tradition, a moment where God feels more accessible, more intimate. Even as an adult I have often longed for the power and the holiness of the Christmas Eve candlelight service to continue into the new year.
Let us take advantage of these twelve holy days to be awake to God’s advent or coming into the world. Let’s allow them to cover us like a holy blanket, and to poke our eyes out from under them like children waiting for Christmas morn each and every one of these days. Perhaps then we will get a glimpse of the deeper mystery– beyond the joy (and pressure) of gift-giving, beyond the experience of a full of belly during this feast. What will we discover on the other side if we allow Emmanuel, God-with-us, to minister to us and to satisfy the deep longings of our heart?
Please join us this Sunday and next as we revel in the beauty of Christmastime. This week have opened the floodgates and celebrate with multiple Christmas hymns and the reading of treasured Christmas scripture, like the one from Isaiah above. Join us next Sunday (January 3) as Scott leads the conversation and on Wed (Jan 6) for a special epiphany party.
Joy and All Good Things
PS No Wed night meal tonight or next week.
PPS Check out Scott’s tips below for last minute Christmas gifts. I’m heading to Make later on today to pick up a present for Richie’s sister.