Text: Luke 2:1-20 (the birth of Jesus)
Was 2017 a good year for you? As always, I found much to love in pretty much every day of the year now passing, even as I found it filled with many things I didn’t like.
But whether you felt extra showered by blessings or extra aware of the forces of violence that can traumatize us, 2017 is now almost over; and it is Christmas, a time when I like to stop and reflect in awe and wonder.
At the winter solstice, the sun seems to stop in the southern sky, and the world seems to pause. So, it makes sense to me that the church of the fourth Century set the celebration of the nativity of Jesus at this time. Partly because of its timing, the holiday that surrounds Christmas gives us chance for pause and reflection if we let it.
Christmas is about the divinity of a baby; about the spiritual power found in the poorest and most marginalized of society; and about the beauty of a young family creating love in difficult circumstances.
It is also about lights in dark nights; about songs of hope and peace in a world with too many lies; and about practicing generosity and solidarity in the face of greed and exclusion.
It becomes Christmas when we welcome refugees. It becomes Christmas when we widen our family and church circles to include people of all nations, creeds, and colours. It becomes Christmas when we put love at the centre of our accounting and not money or power. It becomes Christmas when we seen God in a baby and the face of Christ in all of our neighbours.
The beauty and cold of a winter night becomes Christmas when we remember the spring growth lying dormant beneath the snow and frozen earth. It becomes Christmas when we embrace our loved ones regardless of any difficulties that challenge us. It becomes Christmas when we see divine potential in a newborn child and then remember that that same sacred potential lies within each of us.
Tonight, my prayer is that we will find peace and quiet amid the busyness of family and commerce and stop to look at the stars in wonder and into the face of our loved ones in awe.
Tonight is the stillpoint of our year. It is Christmas Eve. And into this dark sacred night, I say once again, “Peace on earth and good will towards all.”
May it be so.