In these days of pandemic, it is odd to sing carols with phrases like “each other now embrace” and not immediately ponder how, exactly, we are to embrace one another this Christmas. Everything about the story of Christmas is about flesh and immediacy, and it is hard to ponder the story through the lens of our current challenges. Because the story of Jesus’ birth is a story of gathering, touching, and holding. God takes on human flesh to draw near to us. Jesus is held by his parents, and then total strangers show up to behold him, and presumably draw near enough to touch him. (Or at least sneeze on him!) The multitude of the heavenly host in the night sky who sang to the shepherds—how crowded was that, exactly?
If ever there was a December when we have yearned for tidings of comfort and joy, this would be the one! But God does embrace each of us, and by God’s grace, we are gathered all of us together. The good news of great joy in these days is that the coming of Jesus does not depend on our ability to perfectly prepare for this feast. Jesus was born to overwhelmed parents who had to make do with whatever accommodations were available. And Jesus comes to us this year, as we are overwhelmed and making do with what is available to us.
Joyfully, what is available to us is quite wondrous! We have one another, we have enough to share, and mostly we have God’s presence with us.
My tidings of comfort and joy come to you this year with an earnest invitation to allow Jesus to be born again in your overwhelmed life using whatever you have available to welcome him. Like any newborn baby, Jesus wants to be held by us. Like any new parent, we are asked only to do our best to be loving, to rest when we can, and to cherish the gift that has been given to us. Knowing that, with true love and charity each other now embrace! Sending you my love in this holy season. And of course, tidings of
comfort and joy!
Christmas Eve, 4:00 pm, YouTube release
Worship with us on the Feast of the Nativity which will include Holy Eucharist with Spiritual Communion, and the World Premiere of the 2020 Grace Church Christmas Pageant on the Grace YouTube Channel.
Christmas Day, 9:30 am, Grace Zoom
Morning Prayer with Carols and Fellowship in the Grace Zoom Room. Bring your own breakfast and feel free to wear your Christmas jammies!