Pastor’s Corner: Blessed Christmas

December 23, 2020

Christmas can be such a time of excess. That’s why the original “war on Christmas” was waged by New England Congregationalist Christians (yes, those who sent missionaries to Hawai’i) to discourage overeating, overdrinking, and overindulging in excessive merriment. Those Puritans weren’t the cardboard cutouts that fill our imaginations, but they did like things orderly and they didn’t like excess.

Puritanism sought to stifle centuries of exuberant celebrations, however, and so of course it failed. The birth of Jesus demands great joy. The advent of Christ demands recognition. The presence of God-with-us demands celebration.

In this year, however, it seems like those demands will go unanswered. Our great joy struggles to find expression. Our recognition of Christ struggles to find an outlet. The presence of God-with-us struggles to find… some way to share it.

For this year, then, perhaps we turn to that original stable in Bethlehem. Everyone is tired from the labors of birth – mother, father, baby, midwife, innkeeper family. The shepherds squat on their hillsides once more, muscles aching from the walk into town and back. The angels’ chorus is still. The magi have not yet seen a star, let alone worked out where to go to follow it.

In that stable, God’s greatest blessing has been fulfilled and yet awaits, God’s widest mercy has arrived and is still sought, God’s deepest love has taken form but not been expressed in words. Joy is a gentle murmur in a manger, heard only, perhaps, by the exhausted parents and by God.

The blessings are here and will come. The mercy is here and will come. The love is here and is yet still to come. So too the celebration, the joy, the exuberance. Those, too, will come.

Because the love and blessing and mercy are already here.

Have a blessed Christmas, one and all!

With aloha,

Pastor Eric

Categories Pastor's Corner Reflections | Tags: | Posted on December 23, 2020

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