Advent in 2015

“See the Virgin is delivered
In a cold and crowded stall
Mirror of the Father’s glory
Lies beside her in the straw

He is Mercy’s incarnation
Marvel at this miracle!
For the Virgin gently holds
The Glorious Impossible” (Carl Cartee, Wendy Wills, Joe Beck).

I love Christmas and I’m growing to love Advent, the season of preparation for what Christmas is really all about– Emmanuel, the God who took on flesh and bone and moved into the neighborhood.

I think the theme for Advent and Christmas in 2015 should be this– anything’s possible.

If the God bigger than the whole universe can somehow manage to fit as an embryo inside the womb of a teenage virgin peasant girl, then anything’s possible.

If God could look at humanity at its very worst and still want to become one of us to provide a way of salvation for all of us, then anything’s possible.

If God could see me at my most fearful and timid and say, “See, that one? I’m going to die for that one, not because He’s anything special, but because I’ve set my affection on him and chosen him before he was even a sparkle in anyone’s eye,” then anything’s possible.

Anything doesn’t mean that one day we’ll all start flying or that we’ll all suddenly become fabulously wealthy and super good-looking.

It means that we can and will one day become everything God intended and designed when He created you and me.

It means that right now, the worst thing will never be the last thing, because God always saves the best things for last. All things, even those you’d rather not have happened, will one day work out for good, your good, and God’s glory. One day, Love in its truest form will win.

Truly, anything’s possible.

The end.

A Christmas Prayer

Lord, the time approaches yet again when we celebrate your arrival in human skin to make your home among us as one of us. We celebrate that you became Immanuel, “God with us,” and took your place among us, sharing our joys and sorrows, weaknesses and pains.

We confess that we have so often lost sight of why we celebrate this day. We have made it into the giving and receiving of gifts and of excessive shopping and spending. We have forgotten that at the heart of Christmas, it is your birthday.

Help us also to remember those for whom Christmas isn’t such a happy time. So many mourn the loss of loved ones and live in the midst of family strife and turmoil. So many are facing tough days ahead as many are without jobs, some without homes and even the basic necessities.

Help us to walk along side those who are hurting in this Christmas season. May they find you, O God, to be their burden bearer, their refuge, their safe dwelling, and their peace in the midst of storms. Comfort them, bring healing to their strife, and be in the midst of them as the Prince of Peace.

Help us to remember those less fortunate than we and to be generous to those around us who have needs, both physical and spiritual. May we serve you by serving one of the least of these.

May we remember Christmas every day by being living incarnations of your presence everywhere we go, for you are not only God with us, but you are God in us, too. May we never forget that what started out in a manger ended on a cross, and that we are alive and free because of that terrible price you paid.

So as we get into the days of celebration and merriment, help us to remember that you are the reason for it all. May the best gift we give anyone be to show them your love and point them to you this holiday season.