For the past 4 weeks we have been diligently preparing our students for Christmas. We have been reminding ourselves that the Advent season – the season of waiting – prepares our hearts for the miracle that is about to occur.
The time is nigh. We have lit our 4th Advent candle and walked our Solstice labyrinth prayers. These earthly preparations lead us to the Holy time of Christmas Eve when we light the Christ candle that reminds us that God is with us – Emmanuel.
We’ve been talking about how the presents under the tree are a symbol of a far greater gift we would do well to remember. And that gift, not surprisingly, is the gift of The Christ, the Holy One of God. The presents and food and festivities are meant to teach us something and represent a glimpse of the Joy that living in God’s Light can bring.
In our Advent liturgies we have read: ‘The gift of Christ brings more than a temporary joy. It brings a joyful Spirit that will last a lifetime and beyond. It does not depend on whether we’ve had a good day or not. Rather, it is a matter of seeing the world from a godly point of view where God’s Hope, Peace, Love and Joy are instruments of constant Joy.’
One of my favorite personal Advent preparations is to read from Ann Weems book, “Kneeling in Bethlehem.” She writes: ‘In each heart lies a Bethlehem, an inn where we must ultimately answer whether there is room or not.…..In the midst of shopping sprees let’s ponder in our hearts the Gift of Gifts. Through the tinsel let’s look for the gold of the Christmas star. In the excitement and confusion, in the merry chaos, let’s listen for the brush of angels’ wings. This Advent, let’s go to Bethlehem and find our kneeling places.’
Because….‘Each year the Child is born again. Each year some new heart finally hears, finally sees, finally knows Love. And in heaven there is great rejoicing! There is a festival of stars! There is celebration among the angels! For in the finding of one lost sheep, the heart of the Shepherd is glad, and Christmas has happened once more. The Child is born anew and one more knee is bowed!’ ‘When the Holy Child is born into our hearts there is a rain of stars, a rushing of angels, a blaze of candles, and God bursts into our lives. Love is running through the streets.’
No wonder we speak of Joy this season. For that Joy finds a home in us. A Joy that, unlike a flame, may never be extinguished. Thanks be to the God of Joy….The Joy and Reality of the Awaited Chosen One, the Bethlehem child who is born to set people free!
Let us share this Good News with each other and our world. Thank You God for Your Light among us. The Light that calms us, warms us, leads us, and reveals our purpose. New Life is born on Christmas Day to show us how to live more Peaceful, Loving, Hopeful and Joyful lives.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. – Luke 2:11