Advent has long been one of my favorite seasons, if not my very favorite. After all, it is the season when we prepare for Christmas – for the incarnation of Jesus. As the days grow darker, we light candles to affirm the presence of light in the world, and indeed, the presence of Light in our hearts and lives.
The timing of Christmas is deliberate – when the days are their very darkest, we hold fast to the hope and promise of God – that we are so well and truly loved and cherished that God became human for us, so that nothing could separate us from the love of God. The lights we string outside, the candles we light inside, the evergreen trees we put up and decorate are all reminders of that light and life and that we are promised – sure and eternal.
While I do occasionally join the Christian lament that the commercialization of the holiday can obscure the “reason for the season” I also rejoice and give thanks that even the most diluted of messages still retains that essential hope, light and love. Christmas remains a time to offer love to your family, friends and neighbors. It’s a time to be more intentionally kind and caring. It’s a time to remember our blessings and reach out to those with less. It is a time that we care for the whole human family, created in the image of God and bearing the face of Jesus.
As we sing hymns of angels and shepherds, infants and joy, let us hold fast to this message. Christmas reminds us that we are never alone. Indeed, we are so deeply and perfectly loved that God could not bear any distance between us and our God. God became human, confined to our limits to love us more fully. God became human to teach and talk with us. God became human to heal and care for us. God became human to more perfectly love us.
On this Christmas Day know that you are loved and blessed. As it says in the Book of Occasional Services:
May Almighty God, who sent his Son to take our nature upon him, bless you in this holy season, scatter the darkness of sin, and brighten your heart with the light of his holiness.
May God, who sent his angels to proclaim the glad news of the Savior’s birth, fill you with joy, and make you heralds of the Gospel.
May God, who in the Word made flesh joined heaven to earth and earth to heaven, give you his peace and favor.
Amen and Merry Christmas!