Rev. Audrey Webber
Reading: Luke 2:1-20
Join us for our Christmas Services
December 24 | 4:00 pm | The Sanctuary
Family-friendly service with Christmas Pageant!
December 24 | 8:00 pm | The Sanctuary
Experience glorious beauty of candlelight service!
December 25 | 10:00 am | The Parish House
Merry Christmas to one and all! Pajamas optional!
As is the case with most people, I have lived in a number of different houses and apartments. I believe my count at this point is eleven. Each place I have loved in different ways, some because of the reasons for moving to that home: a new job, school, etc., but other times because of the actual space or neighborhood. My favorite homes, though, are those homes away from my physical home. My churches, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Yankees Stadium, my schools, and my favorite parks to name a few. Really, though, those places, too, all revolve around the “internal home” – the memories I have shared with my family and friends, the moments that have been so meaningful, and the particular feeling I felt in each of those spaces.
In Jesus’ birth story, it is difficult to imagine how Mary must have felt in her momentary home where she delivered her baby, and she meets these shepherds who tell her that they heard these voices saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” After Mary and Joseph have gone through all of their travels to essentially do paperwork, they then can’t even find a place to deliver the baby. Once they do, they then get these strange visitors who they don’t know, telling them these beings from heaven have told them these things. At this point, I have a strong feeling that both Mary and Joseph aren’t surprised after their angel visits, nevertheless, Mary knows these visits are not something to be dismissed. She chooses instead to have one of the most intimate, quiet moments in Scripture: “But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.” It is at this moment that Mary is packaging up this memory, and keeping it for when she needs a home again – the home in her heart.
It is this home in our hearts that we carry with us into the Christmas season. Even as we light candles this Christmas Eve, as we open presents, as we celebrate Jesus’ birthday and the incarnation of God in all of our lives, we treasure the words of God in each of our hearts and come home to God again and again.
Christmas! This is the day! Likely you have many traditions which you follow every year. If you don’t have a tradition of your own, pick something to make a new tradition to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Write a birthday card to Jesus, listen to hymns in the morning while you eat cookies, give Jesus a stocking (shoutout to a favorite film of mine: The Bishop’s Wife), read the suggested text together, especially if you weren’t able to make it to one of the Christmas Eve services, or create your own nativity.
Midweek Reading and Prayer
Reading: Isaiah 9:2-7
Incarnate God, indeed you are with us! You have given us the ultimate gift of your son this Christmas and always. We are so grateful that despite our shortcomings and our constant failing, you cover us with this love you have sent to us through your Son Jesus and through the Spirit. Teach us to live into a place of peace, and help us to be doers of justice in a world which is in such need of your unbridled love. Increase our joy so that it might overflow to all those we meet. In your Son Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.