The cards and gifts are easy.
Even if I never get our cards out on time.
It is that other part which is hard.
The Peace on Earth part.
The swords into plowshares part.
The lion laying down with the lamb part.
The seeing the star part.
The listening for the angels part.
The finding my way to Bethlehem part.
May I risk that which is hard.
May there be room in your life for wonder.
And for mystery.
And for awe.
And for love.
May you catch a glimpse of God in the face of a stranger.
In the words of another may you hear the whisper of an angel.
Beyond the taxation of daily demands and expectations,
may you know and feel the call of God.
May there be time to hold the moment that is right now
reverently and deeply.
May you lift your head to see the stars in the sky
knowing one is there to guide you.
May you have the courage to offer the gift of your life
in the service of Peace on Earth.
Christmas blessing one and all.
Into life as it is.
Exactly as it is.
A million details.
A conversation with a friend who is dying.
The headlines in the news.
Worrying about aging parents.
Never forgetting my children.
Or my grandson.
Into my life as it is.
Exactly as it is.
Too busy to see.
Too distracted to notice.
God comes to be God with us.
The stories were written backwards.
By those who came later.
Written as statements of faith.
Not as a recitation of facts.
The only “fact” being their choice of Jesus instead of Caesar.
In a few days I will tell and retell the story in the same way.
Doing my best to pry open
Even the smallest of cracks
In my life
And maybe in yours, as well
To allow the witness of God with us and Peace on Earth
To turn our lives
Right side up
The Sufi Muslim poet, Rumi said:
You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.
Which makes me wonder…
When was the last time you felt you were only one person. Too small to make a difference? When was the last time you felt too insignificant to impact or to influence the change which, when you look around you and into your heart of hearts, you know needs to be made? When was the last time you felt too small to change the world? The last time you felt like a drop in the bucket to say nothing of a drop in the ocean?
Which brings us to today.
And, to Advent.
And, to its miraculous, jaw-dropping story of the birth of Jesus. Not miraculous because of Mary or angels or wondrous star or wisemen who find their way. Miraculous because everything one would normally expect in a story like this gets turned upside down.
The holy city Jerusalem is replaced by backwater Bethlehem.
Herod and his royal court are replaced by Joseph and Mary.
The Roman legions partroling the countryside and streets in an effort to maintain law and order is replaced by the heavenly hosts who sing Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace.
The Emperor Caesar Augustus is replaced by Jesus of Nazareth.
The drop in the bucket becomes the bucket.
The drop in the ocean becomes the ocean.
And, if this story is true, then this also is true.
The small things matter and can make a difference.
The kind word.
The caring touch.
The welcome extended.
And, this is true.
The forgotten shall be the ones who step forward and claim their place.
The disparaged shall be the ones whose presence helps to bend the long arc of history in the direction of the Kingdom of God.
The marginalized and the silenced shall be the ones who find their voice and sing and shout.
And, this also is true.
Too small is no longer an excuse to do nothing.
Too insignificant is no longer a reason to turn away.
For if God can use Bethlehem God can use you.
If God can use Mary and Joseph God can use you.
If God can speak to the shepherds huddled in the field God can speak to you.
If wisemen can see and follow a star so can you.
Because you are the ocean.
Working my way down my check list for Christmas
leaves me wondering about this.
Swords into plowshares.
Spears into pruning hooks.
Paying attention enough to see a star.
To say nothing of God with us.
Will I be ready?