In the afterglow of Christmas on December 25, we still anticipate the arrival of Christ’s light. In the oldest Christian worship that probably represents how the newly converted Roman Empire under Constantine worshiped in 325 CE (what we now know as the Eastern Orthodox Church), Christmas is not celebrated until the arrival of the magi in Bethlehem, 12 days after when we Protestants and Catholics celebrate. Only then does the world truly know that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords has arrived in the world, because the principalities and powers of the world give gifts and say so (at least according to the Hymn “We Three Kings”).
But we hate to wait. So let’s celebrate at Christ’s birth instead, right? Maybe if we waited, though, we might have more whiter Christmases. But for us, drenched in modern thinking and society, we can’t exactly move Santa and shopping and all the hubbub surrounding Christmas. And don’t get me started on why Wall Street would never stand for a delay in their revenue across calendar years.
We want what we want NOW, surrounded by gadgets that give us what we want, each of us, now. Alexa? Play….<insert here> . Google? How do you…<insert here>.
For those of you with these gadgets, ever ask them a question about God? Do we think that artificial intelligence devices can give us meanings of our realities, our lives, our souls? As we put away our Christmas clothes in the drawers and turn our attentions away from the gadgets we received, can we return to our Advent waiting and anticipating Christ’s promised arrival of joy, hope, peace, and love for our souls? We may actually have to wait, do some real searching and work, and keep plumbing the depths of our fears and insecurities to become more in touch with who God frees us to be in THIS life, right here, right now.
Any kind of hard work, particularly when it comes to our spirits and emotions, takes time, and we are continually changing, reflecting, experiencing, processing, and learning. So I’d like to take you back to Rally Sunday when we came back to church in September. I challenged us to start each day with a prayer – a simple one for being alive, alert, given the gifts we have right now, and give us grace to experience and learn something new. And for the next two weeks I asked about that prayer. And for the last week, I asked, as God was entering our consciousness and daily living, if there was a question that we had for God which our souls were asking.
I received eight responses, which we will address in a new series that follows our Gospel and Epistle lectionary. Deep questions, which others may also want to know about. Questions that I wonder about. But more importantly, if we have friends and acquaintances who are wondering about their place in the world right now, please take time to invite them to this series, Jan 27-March 10, and let’s explore together. This year we will explore the deep needs, questions, and listenings of our souls. But let’s open our doors to make sure that message gets to as many people as possible. Where else would you rather be on a cold Sunday morning? Come warm yourselves by the Light of the World and a good cup of coffee afterward.