So we’ve come to the serious waiting time that is Advent as we long for the joys of Christmas, the memories, inspiration, spirit and impetus of Christmas. Christmas with all its wonders -- with its promise of peace and hope and love.
Perhaps when we’re all alone or in the dark, maybe after some tragedy or mere disappointment, we find within our self an aching desire for things to be different -- for our life, for all our world, to be made right. And even when there’s a bit of hope that could actually happen one day, we are left with the not-yet and the incompleteness of living in this mean-time. Advent is about hanging on in the dark days of waiting, in this in-between time.
You know, Christmas may be about…- the giving of gifts — particularly toys for children (and hopefully but some practical gifts too - for them and for us, And yes it’s about festive meals and the gathering of families. But to get past the revelry of the office party, surviving the crush of malls and the anger caused by too few parking spots and on to the bright tinselly wrappings of gifts.
Christmas may be about… new clothes, getting together, sharing meals of turkey, dressing and cranberry… maybe followed even when we’re stuffed ourselves… with mince pie or tarts, plum pudding and Christmas cake. But should in not also be about - moving out in the Name and Spirit of Jesus, to provide food for the hungry, clothing for those who need them; visiting the imprisoned - and especially advocating for those unjustly accused and put away. Opposing, in fact, all injustice where we may play a part.
Christmas is full of exposes and contrasts. It may expose our own greed and longing - even lusting for more, when so many around us have so little. It may reveal once more that powerful, useless pomp or mockery is till to be found of the narcissistic Herod-like rulers of our own day.
All of it contrasted with the poor and humble, the meek and willing vulnerability of a servant King, who came to give Him self away. He came to set free those whom He has loved from before the birthing of the galaxies and our own tiny world. He became what we are that we might become as He is.
Christmas means making room for those who can find no room - in their own country, in their own family and people…. It means welcoming the refugee, for we remember that even the Holy Family was forced to flee for safety to a foreign land, becoming refugees there and on return, but while there receiving the safety, provision and hospitality of that foreign land, perhaps when and where it could be least expected — just as had their forebears way back in the days of Pharaoh.
It’s about candles and lights - mere pin-pricks of luminance as we remember our Lord who has come as the Light of the World to lighten every last one of us. And because Christmas is about light and warmth and family for many of us, could we not lengthen our table and extend our care to those who need to come in and join us - coming out of the cold and darkness of the world’s despair.
It’s about a green tree, that reminds us too of that awful tree where our Saviour was pinned up to take our sins upon Himself. And no angel seemed to be on the top that day.
Nevertheless, just as choirs sang to welcome His birth - as the old carol puts it, Heaven’s courts will ring once more when His second Advent is announced, this time with trumpets too. And even before that Great Day, as we are welcomed in to our Eternal Home.
May each of us find that there is room - at the Saviour’s side, whether we are here welcoming Him - or in that bright land when He welcomes us.
Jesus left His Throne and His kingly Crown
When He came to earth for me
But in Bethlehem’s home there was found no room
For His holy Nativity.
Heaven’s arches rang when the angels sang
Proclaiming His royal degree
Bu of lowly birth came our Lord on earth
And in great humility.
The foxes found rest and the birds had their nest
In the shade of the forest tree;
But a couch was the sod for the Son of God
In the deserts of Galilee.
He came, this our Lord, with the living Word
That should set His people free;
But with mocking scorn and with crown of thorn,
They bore Him to Calvary.
Heaven’s arches shall ring and her choirs shall sing
When in victory He comes anew,
May His voice call us up, saying ‘Yes there is room,
There is room at my side for you!’
Oh, come to my heart, Lord Jesus!
There is room in my heart for You.
Words: Emily Elliott (paraphrased)
Score and Narrative: Laurie Barber Advent 2019