Thursday, December 19, 2019

The Heart of Season

“If you take Christmas to heart and get past the anxieties in arranging for gifts and parties, you will rediscover yourself every year at this time and experience a birth in yourself, just like the one so beautifully described in the Gospel stories.  It will be a celebration of both the birth of Jesus and the birth of your soul.”  (Thomas Moore)

“What is at the heart of this amazing season?” Gordon Cosby asked.  “What happened in that Holy Birth that has brought surprise, awe, and wonder to all who have really journeyed to Bethlehem?  The key word is kenosis—a New Testament Greek word meaning self-emptying, pouring out.  The astounding affirmation that people of faith make is that God self-empties into Jesus, becoming weak, helpless, vulnerable, in real danger.  Only thus could God be Emmanuel—God with us.  This is a mystery so profound that whenever I glimpse its deeper meaning, it slips away.  I affirm it often, but do I really believe it?  Is God that passionate for each of us?”

The Bethlehem event of long ago was wrapped up by the Gospel writers with pretty paper, colorful ribbons, with a little tinsel added to make it appealing (angels, a star, and all the rest).  Religion is always wrapped up and expressed in poetic, mystical and imaginative terms.  Sometimes the pretty paper and colorful ribbon becomes a barrier for thoughtful people.  But it is not the wrappings on which we need focus.  It is the Gift that matters!  Could it really be that God is that passionate for each of us that He came then and comes still?

I affirm this heart of the season (this "Love at the Heart of Things"),  and with Philips Brooks I pray:

O holy Child of Bethlehem
Descend to us, we pray
Cast out our sin and enter in
Be born in us today
We hear the Christmas angels
The great glad tidings tell
O come to us, abide with us
Our Lord Emmanuel

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