This Sunday we combine story and song to tell the history of God’s saving acts. While there are times we sometimes wonder “Is God here? Does God care?” Lessons and Carols pulls together nine Biblical stories that showcase God’s love for us. We hear of Adam and Eve’s first “no” to God, and God’s response. While God is saddened by their sin, God does not abandon the human experiment. He sticks with us. We have three prophecies from Isaiah that tell us of God’s love and care for the people, even in the midst of exile. We then hear of Gabriel’s annunciation to Mary, and Elizabeth’s prophetic witness to the fetus Jesus. Simeon proclaims Jesus’ meaning to all nations and the letter to the Hebrews tells us of the amazing gift we have been given – God’s own Son. Finally, we end with John’s cosmic masterpiece: “In the beginning was the Word.”
The thing is, no matter how happy and uplifting these stories are, they take place within the challenges and struggles of daily life. They are good news precisely because they are told to a people who worry, grieve, laugh and work. Adam and Eve have just fractured their relationship with God through mistrust. Isaiah is speaking to a people who have been away from their homes for decades. Mary has one plan that the angel completely turns on its head. Elizabeth is bearing a child she never thought she’d have. Simeon has witnessed the tyranny of Rome, and is seeing hope at the end of his life. God is with us. In all times, in all places. There is no where we can go to be without God. There is nothing we can do that will cause to turn his back on us.
So we celebrate! We sing happy songs and retell familiar stories of how God chases after us, longing to be in relationship. We remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness and love and are hopefully inspired to reach out in return. We prepare for the arrival of Jesus, God incarnate. We get ourselves ready for this incredible gift God gives each one of us. We rejoice and give thanks.
Prayers and blessings,