“Do all things without murmuring and arguing, so that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.” (Philippians 2:14-15b from Philippians 2:12-18 )
More often in the past few days I have looked back to see what I wrote five years ago. I have done this somewhat with an eye to make sure I did not go “off course” in my interpretation and exegesis. Fortunately I did not. But when I re-read what I wrote for Christmas day five years ago [ “Christmas in the midst of fallen generations” ] I had to wonder how I was going to improve on that.
But what caught my eye this year was something different than five years ago; the writer of Philippians tells us to be “ blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish.” Well, that reminds me of baby Jesus. And all other babies I have seen – not just my own! Who cannot wonder and marvel at a baby. All the possibilities in the world rest in a baby. And none as much as baby Jesus.
With all that goes into the Christmas season, I have to remind myself to still myself and imagine baby Jesus at peace and sleeping. It reminds me that God that did not want to be at a distance from creation and humanity, but wanted to be a part of it and in the midst of it. What better way to do that then to merge with humanity and walk that earth that the Divine created.
May you gentle reader take time from your busy schedule to breathe in the wonder of the Christ child, silencing all the noise and distraction so that you might focus on the purity and innocence of the season. Selah! And shalom for your day!
I have heard a great deal from friends and family that they do not feel they are ready for Christmas. It is a common theme, and usually means they have not decorated, baked/cooked, and shopped in preparation for Christmas Day. But Christmas will come whether we are ready or not. And that is okay. Because the most important preparation for Christmas is readying our hearts and spirits, and not our home and hearths. That is what Advent is for, to ready our hearts and spirits for the coming of the baby Jesus.
Consider this; Mary was not very ready for the birth of this child. She had no secured and save place to be in labor. She did not have a female family member or friend to be with her. She laid her baby in a manager instead of a specially prepared bed. Luke 2 verses 6b to 7 says, “While they were there [in Bethlehem], the time came for her to deliver her child.And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” That does not sound like very much preparation to me. And consider this, that while the world needed a Savior and Messiah, the world was not ready for that Savior to come in the form of a baby. No, NOT being ready for Christmas seems to be a tradition started long ago.
Christmas morning comes whether we have all the preparation done that we think we need to have done. And if you are ready this, it has already come! But there is still time to open your heart to the baby Jesus, and bid him welcome to your heart and soul. It does not take tinsel or tree, decorating or baking, nor even presents and wrapping paper. It only takes a whispered prayer and an open grateful heart. Merry Christmas gentle reader! Selah!