We must always be attentive to the edges of our own storytelling. Attractive as it may be to children, and lodged as it may be upon the portrayed scenes of religious Christmas cards, it is simply incorrect to think that Mary and Joseph were forced into a stable. They found shelter in the kindness of a family, presumably Joseph’s kin, in his traditional homeland of Bethlehem. This kindness was so ordinary, so expected, so taken for granted that Luke, the gentle evangelist, did not even make mention of the family whose home was used for what we consider to be the birthing of a godchild to confused parents.
I know this is late, but it is the message I gave on Christmas morning December 25, 2011.
Isaiah 52:7-10: How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of the messenger who announces peace, who brings good news, who announces salvation, who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
John 1:1; 14 “And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.”
I saw a political cartoon this week that said “Occupy Christmas.” And then off to the one side it said “in your hearts.” And I thought at first, “ah, isn’t that nice…?” And then, I was thought, “wait, no, no, no!!!” “How could you Occupy something in your heart? You don’t occupy something like Christmas in your heart. That takes away the power not only of “occupy” but even more importantly of Christmas.” It undercuts whatever revolutionary power either of these have. Continue reading The Original Revolution: Occupy Christmas? (Isaiah 52:7-10)
So far this advent we have focused largely on preparation.
What is it we prepare for exactly? 2,000 years after Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection, hasn’t it already all happened? Advent means coming, but hasn’t Christ already come again in the resurrection? As Christ-centered Quakers we believe that Christ is present here among us, we don’t have to wait until Christmas for Christ to come, God is birthed in the world everyday. And in this sense, Quakers should be celebrating Christmas everyday!!!
And besides this preparation is very difficult. Continue reading ‘Hail, space for the uncontained God’ (Luke 1:26ff)
This advent season we are invited to see the movements of grace all around us. The Christian tradition has for two millenia argued that God once took on human flesh and came to earth in the form a crying little infant (forget whatever it says in “Away in a Manger”). And that baby, rather than be born into the sterility of modern medicine’s safe environment, away from all possible threat and rather than be born into the relative security of an imperial power, protected by walls, patrols and money, this baby, Mary’s little Emmanuel, was born in the wild. And as you might expect from the wild, as Mary, his mother courageously gave birth on the floor of a stable, Gods silent creatures in attendance waited to voice their praise. Continue reading Seeing Beyond What We See
Today we are three weeks into the advent season preparing for Christs coming. Christmas, for Christians, is not simply a remembrance and celebration of history (though it is certainly that), it is more importantly a proclamation of reality. The father of Quakerism, George Fox, wrote in his journal of his present and personal experience of Christ when he said: Jesus has come to teach the people himself, meaning that for Christians there is no waiting for the return of Christ is some distance future, Christ is here with us and among us now. When we talk about the Light of Christ, who is the Inward Light, this is what we mean. Therefore, if Christ came two thousand and nine (or so) years ago, then Christ is also born every year at Christmas and he is born in us every time we make the space in our wombs for the divine gestation to take place. Continue reading Advent Message "Come Be Born in Us" (Luke 1:39-55)