Image: Barbara Ryther
Christmas Eve Meditation
This Christmas is unlike any other, and it feels very strange. Because of a powerful microbe we can’t even see, we’ve been deprived of many of the trappings of our normal holiday celebrations. No parties, few– or limited–family gatherings, smaller piles of presents under the tree, the need to ask for help from a food pantry for the first time ever.
Perhaps it is worth remembering that Mary and Joseph were also in a strange place, and that the events of their son’s birth were extraordinarily unusual. A stable, really? Angel choirs? And filthy, smelly men, men who lived on the edge of society, tending sheep being the first people to welcome the newborn into this world? Unusual indeed. It came at a time and place—ancient Judea—where people desperately needed hope. How impossible it must have seemed, even as he grew to adulthood in modest surroundings that this baby was destined to be that source of that hope.
It is not that difficult to connect today’s events with those of the first Christmas. A year ago none of us expected to find ourselves unable to celebrate Christmas as we have done in the past. We are in a strange place too.
Hoping to return to the ways we are happiest celebrating Christmas we have little choice but to put this year’s celebrations aside. We must do so to survive this pandemic so we, and those we love, will still be here to celebrate a Christmas with all the people we hold dear, and in all the ways we’ve become accustomed to.
So let us celebrate Christmas as best we can—and do so however small, however different it may be. Sing carols with the virtual choir at one of our YouTube services, find your own candle to light when we sing “Silent Night.” Go big and find the YouTube celebration from our National Cathedral. Or do both!
If ever there was a year for “Christ to be kept in Christmas,” this is it: It is still the birthday of our king. Let’s celebrate it as best we can. God came down on Christmas. God is with us. Joy to the world. The Lord IS come.
– Barbara Kautz