My Advent reflection with excerpts from a sermon I preached on December 19. It is late, I know, but I finally have some time to be super creative, reflective and still.
Peace of Christ be with you.
Prepare the way…


Luke 1:39-55

“Silent Night, Holy Night, all is calm, all is bright,”

Hearts every are filled with joy and sometimes wonder as their mouths sing about the little child’s, Jesus, birth bringing a silent calm and peace in the world. It is so lovely.

In the moment, we could easily forget the Christ child’s birth and life on the earth was not all that silent or peaceful. It is so tempting to believe the birth of Jesus is one of silence, making all calm and all bright. It is nice for a few minutes to forget that in 3 months or so, we will be in the same space singing, “Where you there when they crucified my Lord.”

There is another carol, that doesn’t often make it to our top 5 or 10 Christmas carol list, but makes its way into our Advent journey reminding us of who we celebrate, remember and have chosen to follow.

It is Mary’s song. Her song enters into our Christmas routine inviting us to stop, listen and then, by the grace of God, dare to sing along.

Her song bids us to ponder in our hearts, what it means when we sing on Christmas day Jesus “rules the world with truth and grace, makes the nations prove the glories of God’s righteousness and wonders of God’s love”?

So many questions immediately come to mind…

Who is this child? What does it mean to bear the name of this child and claim to follow him?

What are the glories of God’s righteousness and wonders of God’s love?

During extremely trying and fearful times for the masses of people living under Herod’s rule, where his governing fostered a widening gap between the rich and the numerous amount of poor, the Jesus’ Jewish mother, dares to sing:

and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, 
for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.

From now on all generations will call me blessed, 
for the Mighty One has done great things for me— 
holy is his name. 

His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.

He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.

He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.

He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.

He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful to Abraham and his descendants forever, 
even as he said to our fathers.

These ancient words of Scriptures remain before us, demanding the attention of those who follow the God of Jesus Christ as the Holy Spirit opens us to a new way of seeing, walking, speaking, spending, eating… being in the world.

In a world where one’s place of birth still determines whether they live or whether they die; whether they receive a good education or receive an education at all; whether you can view the dreaded sting of war through your television screen or feel the dreaded sting of war; whether you eat three meals plus a day or have no idea where you next meal may come from; whether you know little league baseball cheers or the motto “Do or Die”…

In this world, Mary still sings and those of faith are invited to sing wit her.

It is into this very world, the church is called to proclaim with our lives, as Charles Campbell writes “God’s challenge to good order.”

As the writer, Kate Huey, reminds us in her Advent reflection, “As long as millions of children go to bed hungry or homeless or afraid each night, there are tables to be turned, that is, if we’re going to mean what we sing in this year’s Christmas carols. Sharon Ringe describes the righting of things, when all of God’s children will have what they need: The rich and the hungry, the lowly and the powerful ‘represent economic and political opposites, and as a result of God’s action, they are said to move toward a common middle ground.’ Ringe’s claim for Mary’s time is our dream, too, when ‘an economy marked by scarcity and competition is replaced by an economy of generosity in which all have enough.'”

Mary’s dream, her song, is the dream and song of many today- rich and poor alike-. It is a song of Good News for all, it is a proclamation of a new reality that breathes life for all people-rich and poor alike-.

 We all long for a time when suffering will end and everyone will have enough to care for those we love and ourselves, when nations and families will live in peace, when we can daily offer the world what gives us great joy and the earth will be restored and healed of the damage that has been done.

Wouldn’t it be something if our Christmas dreaming in our various sanctuaries this year, led to a new way of living as we woke-up and walked out of the front doors with a renewed imagination?

Wouldn’t it be something if our Christmas dreaming led us to live lives that constantly point to the One we celebrate every day we live?

Mary had the faith and the creative mind to claim such a future for herself and her people. It was a faith and imagination that not only made claims for the future, but boldly claimed the possibilities of another way in the here and now. The life, mind and teachings of her son, lead me to wonder the influence her theological understanding and vision had upon her son. As her words echo the song of Hannah, you hear echos of her song in one of the greatest sermons ever told (Matthew 5-7).



In this season of Advent, may the songs of hope, freedom and justice be so deep in our hearts and souls, as Mary’s own song was part of who she was. May we stand by that window with Mary, “expectant with hope and filled to the brim with joy because we have seen in every moment of tender love and forgiveness the promise of what is has come, is coming and yet to come.” Kate Huey

Wouldn’t it be something?

Advertisements