Christmas Eve 2014

Oh what a night…And you might even know …
It is a holy night… across all universes and all time
And
Here at Trinty
Outside in what you might call a remembrance for our imaginations:
the nativity scene with stable, star, silouettes ;
And downstairs in the fellowship hall
And here, in the pews where you are sitting…
Yes, a Holy Night                  And in the air around you,
And in the stained glass window
And at the altar
And on the very floor beneath your feet
And in the wreaths and greens upon the walls and in the birchbark stars upon them
And around the tree, with its lights and angel on top and Nativity Scene beneath
And in the candles, Oh Holy Night
Ah the candles….            Drawing our eyes to pinpoint lights
On this Night our inner selves long for
As we long to know
there is more                than just any single me…
More than just             any collective us.
We gather for various reasons, tonight,
in this gathering space…and it is Holy, this night
 
And in this night, I’ve a letter for you  
to help you drop aside all the thinking and planning and details
To help you just             Ease into this O Holy Night
And let your imagination take hold
While God’s Spirit takes hold
The letter was spoken to me…not mailed, but it is about a time here
Just a couple of weeks ago…
Dear people of Trinity, the long distance voice said…
Sundays find me there at odd spaced times   
In your worship space.
Sundays find me there, sometimes
With tears held back or on my face.
Oh smiles too…but mostly small
For there is so much I see the world needs
I see so much to which we pay no heed.
And then I feel
Too weak to help in the face of so much …  So much….
But then there came this, a recent Sunday that found me there
in your Sanctuary with tree and wreath and greens and
Floors one hundred years old, I heard it said.
And then my eyes, as they traveled around
taught me new to see,
and with new imaginations I found
stained glass-- and my eyes moved up to cross  
and looked again to greens and tree … where stars and angels and doves
were placed
But that isn’t all…
You see, often times my faith is absent or dead.
And then it makes no sense to me
to think I know                  what can’t be known,
and then in irritation I repeat,
“Why would God, if there is a God, make mystery
For us to try and take apart with reasoning, wits, history…
Would a god really do it that way?
A baby?  Really, God born our way?
In an old stable, maybe with an old wooden floor?
With only light of a candle or lamp?
A baby? Would God really do it that way?”
 
But then came that Sunday not long ago
Remember the day?     
There was a baby there
A few months old           So tiny to hold!
And suddenly                 That baby by father was handed down
To a man near the front         Whose seat was a wheelchair,
and the baby, contented, kept looking out, at all it could see..
and then a time later
baby by parent was again handed-down
to a lady who I heard say, “I’m more than 90 you know.”
As our voices sang hymns
I saw baby’s journey extend
to a woman way in the back, near where I sat..
I swear her even her red jacket glowed
But that is not all       I want you to know
I saw wide open smiles … even on faces that had come in sad
I saw little pauses, and intakes of breath
As baby turned eyes into   those
 
Of everyone who had chance to take hold
of a baby ! right there in their arms, in the flesh!
 
Our Worship too quickly ended for me, 
The people were kind, inviting to me
But ahead lay a long drive, so I did not stay
And found in my journey
I was lingering within worship
where words about Jesus flowed forward and back
where music and hymns were easing my way
where people were joining in prayer.
I knew goodwill there, in the very air.
But that’s not all I have to say:
My mind lingers on that smidgeon little baby, passed around.
And now I’ve an answer, when I ask in a day:
“Would God really do it that way?
Or a baby? Would God really do it that way?”
Now when those questions pop into mind…
I have seen yes.
For what other way would there ever have been
For God to really show us that God loves us SO MUCH
And wants us so much, to know so much, deep in our souls!
I’ve found          joy and love are God’s plan,
and our receiving is handed, like baby that day,        right down to us
and our giving-care then goes hand in hand   
With smiles and looks into eyes.
Tell your church, Pastor, on Christmas I’ll not be there…
But I’ll be at worship, and with tears on my face
Will thank God          On that Holy night
For the church and the people who gather in that lovely space.”  
 
Yes,
O Holy Night               And throughout life
Holy Days and Nights                  Are Everywhere we are
So when you wonder
If there really were a God would God really...     
Remember                    God wants to draw you
...and shows you “so much
By human-flesh-bearing-divine God in Jesus —
In his baby size beginning in life, and always,   God with us
So joy can break out
and spread,           face to face.             Thanks be to God.    Amen.
 

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