Greetings, Sisters and Brothers in Christ!
Are you feeling like Mary these days? Feet swollen and back aching? Praying this baby has gestated enough and someone has an epidural ready for you? You’re not alone. It takes a long, long time to get from the Righteous Branch in Jeremiah to the manger in Luke. By the time the last verse of “Silent Night” is sung and the candles are extinguished, the faithful have departed and you turn toward home, what will you remember of this time of preparation? Will it be the trips to the hospital to pray with the dying? Will it be the wrangles over stewardship and budgets that linger until the end of the year? Will it be the faces of overwhelmed families that have come to you for counsel or a hand-out? Will it be the weight of waiting or the awareness of who is missing?
Regardless of how we serve God with our lives, for all of us, this season is jammed, and for most of us, the jam has little to do with the birth of our Lord. I’d like to offer a wee prayer for you. As you pass the flame from candle to candle on Christmas Eve, may your eyes meet God’s in that dim light, and in that moment, may you know the height and breadth and depth of the love that brings this infant to our midst. May your weariness turn to boundless joy, may your spirit be renewed, and may you rest in the knowledge that God is still God, after all.