The Gospel of John proclaims that the light was coming into all the world
The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness can not overcome it.
The true light, which enlightens everyone,
was coming into the world.
—John 1:5, 9
God begins with a musical idea,
and then sings it.
The song shines in the darkness.
Everything in this universe is God's song.
It's a love song.
Listen for God singing the world into being.
Look for the light shining in the music.
Notice this cosmic song, this act of Creation,
rising in you, unfolding, radiating,
shining in the darkness.
The true light that enlightens everyone
is coming into the world.
How wonderful to be part of this singing the light into being! This is the invitation to Christmas. We see the Christ-Light, we are offered this Light, we are this Light. It is Jesus' gift to us. May we use it well and offer it to the whole world for the glory of God.
Let us live in and of that Light.
What is the heart of Christmas for you this year?
This is a question that Boyd and I have been asking ourselves and each other since Advent began. Sometimes we ask it another way - "what does Christmas mean for us this year?"
For the two of us as ministers it always means extra services and events, so increased workload. It also means that because of this we are steeped in the scriptures and church traditions. We begin to breathe them it seems - they begin to permeate our world. For me this takes me to the heart of Christmas.
I love the trees, the lights, the music, the cookies! But sometimes they distract me from the heart of the Advent and Christmas message. Which is God's reminder that God is as close to us as our own breath. God is here with us - in each other and in us. That's what incarnation means after all. The word "incarnate" comes from the Latin verb incarnare, from in- ‘into’ + caro, carn- ‘flesh.’ God is with us "in the flesh". The only way that can happen is through people, through us and our embodied spirits.
The scripture story of the baby Jesus is a reminder to us that God is already with us (that's what Emmanuel means - "God With Us"), God is with us all the time, in every moment. Our call as people of God is to live like this all the time. In every decision we make, and every action we take.
And what a very lovely and profound way God has chosen to remind us. To invite a young woman of no social or political status to offer herself as the gift-bearer. To invite a man of great integrity and little economic power to accompany her on this life-journey. To invite foreign dignitaries and scholars to pay homage to this child who is "God-With-Us". To invite shepherds - hard working people - to witness and celebrate this wonderful truth.
And so it is that once again this year God invites us to simultaneously celebrate the incarnation already among us and within us, and to ready ourselves for a deeper experience of this "God-With-Us" mystery/miracle.
Join us for our special Christmas services:
These words caught my eye earlier this week as I was checking out my FaceBook page. "Human. Kind. Be both." "Humankind - be both!" It's a call really - to all of us who share this planet to be the best that we can be. To celebrate the best about being human, and to be kind to one another. Each act of kindness goes a long way. One act of kindness can turn my whole day around. How about you?
This first week of December holds several poignant moments and anniversaries. It is a big week that makes me stop in my tracks. Even as I am getting ready for Christmas I stop to remember these important moments in history.
December 1 is World Aids Day (since 1988),
December 6 is Canada's National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women (White Ribbon Day). On December 6 1989 fourteen young women were murdered and ten more injured by a single gunman at École Polytechnique in Montreal.
December 7 marks the anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbour in 1941.
December 8 marks the anniversary of the assassination of John Lennon in 1980.
As we move through Advent the Bible readings are all about waking up and noticing what is going on around us - the good and the bad. The great prophets Isaiah and John the Baptist are striking figures who do not mince their words. "God is here" they tell us. "Wake up and notice!" They are calling us to get on board, God needs you, they are saying. God needs us - all of us - to live God's peace, and hope, and love, and joy. To live these Advent gifts. To embody them. To offer them to the world for healing..
Perhaps the best way we can do this is to simply be human. And together to be humankind. Be human. Be humankind. Be both.