Are you ready for Christmas?
Episcopal Diocese of Washington
Bishops Blog - Bishop's Blog: Post
Bishop Mariann’s Blog
Thursday, December 20, 2012
At some point this weekend, you may be part of a conversation that begins with the question, “Are you ready for Christmas?” The implication is that Christmas is a great undertaking for which we must all labor. In many ways, it’s true. When we’re tired, we long for a simpler way to mark the season; when we’re rested, we wouldn’t have it any other way.
I’m not speaking of the superficialities of Christmas, but rather its nobler aspects—caring for one another, gathering at tables, preparing meaningful worship and other events, and opening our hearts to those in need of hope. All this takes effort, and it’s worth it to us, for all that we long for and strive to be in our lives and in the world.
Yet what Christmas points to isn’t something we make happen. At the heart of this season is a gift, an experience of God coming to us in small ways, where we are least prepared and have greatest need ourselves. As one author writes of Jesus’ birth: “The infant Jesus was born in unimpressive circumstances, no one can exactly say where. His parents were of no social significance, and his chosen welcome committee was comprised of turkeys, losers and dirt-poor shepherds. But in their weakness and poverty the shipwrecked at the stable would come to know the love of God.”
If you’re wondering where you might experience the grace of God this Christmas, don’t imagine that it will be after you’ve completed your check-list or when all your Christmas plans have been completed. Look instead to the places that feel frazzled and incomplete. Dare to be honest with what you struggle with or long for most. Show up in the places where you feel the least hopeful. Then ask yourself, “Are you ready for Christmas?”
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