Mary, his mother treasured all these things in her heart. - Luke 2
Yes. The answer is "Yes." God's answer to our yearnings is, "Yes."
We have taken a long trip to Bethlehem. Some of us have been eager - or attentive - on this journey. Some of us have dragged our heels, sulked, and even whined from the back seat, "Are we there yet?"
Now we arrive. All smells musty and sweet; hardly the birthing room at the gleaming, local health care facility. The cattle are lowing. The hurried innkeepers, who sent the birthing party to the stable, rushes in, remembering in a panic that they forgot to feed the stock; they've been busy feeding the crowd back in the warmth of their establishment. They stop at the entrance.
Scripture doesn't record this part of the story, but we can surely imagine their amazement at what they see. There is something happening here that has never happened before. An astonishing gathering of shepherds, angels, sheep, and new parents hovers over the tiny, shivering-in-the-night, but warm-as-God's-heart child.
Now is the time when the hopes and fears of all the years are met.
Please celebrate this unutterably holy event with them; with us; with a gathering where there is no "them" or "us".
At 8 o'clock on Christmas Eve, we will gather to sing, pray, listen, and sing some more.
And on Sunday, December 27, we will gather again. It's a Sunday when a lot of people, even regular churchgoers, struggle to make it to worship. We understand that. But the celebration will still be happening in that stable, and don't you want the best parts of this season simply to never end?
On Sunday, we'll hear one of the loveliest Christmas stories I know. No, not that one. Another one, and it is astonishing, in the very spirit of this sweet, holy week.
If we don't see you, Merry Christmas.
If we do see you, Merry Christmas.
We would love to say that in person, so you can see the warm and hope-filled smile on our faces.
Christmas and Sabbath blessings-
AFP, seeking, like all of us, to live in God's "Yes"