“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and made his home among us. We have seen his Glory.”
(John 1:1, 14b, CEB)
As you read this column, you are either well in the midst of your Christmas preparations or, if you are like me, you are wishing you got an earlier start, or both. Either way, we look forward to Christmas. We anticipate it, we plan for it, we get things ready for it. We stand weeks before it, point ourselves into the future, and both think and align ourselves to what is about to come. This includes the festive adornments in our homes and on the streets, sounds and smells and tastes of Christmas traditions, time with family and friends, and even special Christmas programs and church services. And of course, it most importantly includes our remembrance of the coming of God into the world as the Christ.
I find it interesting how much “future orientation” is involved with the Christmas and Advent season. On the surface it looks like an orientation toward making it through and completing the Holidays, but I think it is actually much more than that. I believe that all our planning and prepping in anticipation of the coming Christmas holiday is really fueled by a hope toward our future well beyond any given December 25th. Perhaps not so much in toward keeping around all those continuous holiday songs, all the used wrapping paper, or even all the decorations. Rather, it is a hope for a world continually transformed by the continuous presence of Christ in it.
It is in this way that I see Advent and Christmas as not only our remembering of the coming of Christ into this world, but also our acknowledgment that God-in-Christ continues to make “his home among us.” The work that was started some 2000 years ago upon the birth of Jesus (when God became flesh)—the teaching and healing a broken world—still continues yet today. We have not only “seen his Glory,” but we continue to see it. It is this hope for our and the world’s continued transformation that fundamentally energizes our efforts, preparations and anticipation in this and every Advent season. And it is a hope that has the substance and credibility of God’s promise.
May you be filled with such anticipation and hope in this Advent and Christmas season. May you invite others into that experience that they may share in its message and promise for the future. And may this Advent and Christmas season offer you peace, love, joy and hope, for a future that not only extends beyond Dec. 25, but also into eternity.
Peace and blessings to you, your families and friends … Pastor Bob