Christmas is an amazing concept. We spend four weeks, sometimes more before Christmas preparing for one day. In the secular world this preparation is frantic, even intense: there are cards to write and post, gifts to buy and post, parties to attend, parties to prepare – what does Aunt Agnes want? Will the cookies make it to Nana and Pappa?
In the Christian world, the four weeks of Advent is a time of preparation but the opposite, the time is to reflect, anticipate, to be kind in the midst of rushing and rudeness. To make time to be ready for the arrival of the baby, Jesus born of Mary.
It is a big event, the big kahuna, feasts of feasts. The reading for Christmas day, the prologue of John’s Gospel (John 1:1-14) I have heard it described as the most succinct cosmological description of God written. The Gospel writer describes God as the creator, the thought, the Word, the light in the darkness. God Is. God, I Am. God, the light in us, the breath in our lungs, the thoughts in our head.
God who became incarnate, took human form, in a squawking baby born in a stable, surrounded by farm animals. This is the great event we celebrate, we prepared for these four weeks; celebrating God the small child with straw in his hair who knows the roughness of Joseph’s beard and the scent of his mother Mary.
On Christmas Eve, the church was dark, one candle placed on the crèche. The flame of that one candle lit the torches, so the prologue of John read. From those torches the candles of the congregation were lit. Seeing the lights from all those candles in the darkened church I saw God’s light, in each person.
Immanuel, God with us, born Jesus son of Mary.
The big event worth all the preparation, worth all the waiting.
How cool is that!
Happy New Year!
PS: Cyprian's will host a screening of Amahl and the Night Visitors, the Menotti operetta about a young boy who meets three special men. Join us January 6 (Friday), 6pm at St Cyprian's!