For Sunday, December 21, 2008
2 Samuel 7:1 – 11, 16
Luke 1: 47 – 55 or Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26
It’s the week for Mary, but it’s also the week for Jesus. In the unofficial liturgical calendar of advent there are some truths I have learned in the past 11 years: Even the most hard-core Advent churches tend to sing carols on the 4th Sunday of advent, and on the Sunday before Christmas you’d better hit the story of Jesus just a little ‘cause not everyone will make it to church on Christmas Eve or Christmas day.
Which is all to say that the prime texts for me for this week are the annunciation and Mary’s magnificat.
For many years I’ve been preaching the cross in the manger, the reminder that we don’t worship the baby Jesus, we celebrate Jesus’ birth because of what came later- his ministry, crucifixion, and resurrection.
In the words of Ann Weems:
If there is no cross in the manger,
There is no Christmas.
If the Babe doesn’t become the Adult,
There is no Bethlehem star.
If there is no commitment in us,
There are no Wise Men searching.
If we offer no cup of cold water,
There is no gold, no frankincense, no myrrh.
Only, this year, I seem to be craving the love of a child a little more than usual. Yes, the cross is out there, but I don’t want the cross in the manger just yet. I want to stay there with the Holy Family and visit a while before that horrible truth becomes evident. I want to watch the peaceful slumber of a child before hearing the words he will speak, words of truth that will cut me to my core and then begin to rebuild me all over again.
I’m ready for baby Jesus.
How about you? What are you thinking about for this Sunday?
Into the bleakest winters of our souls, Lord, you are tiptoeing on tiny Infant feet to find us and hold our hands. May we drop whatever it is we are so busy about these days to accept this gesture so small that it may get overlooked in our frantic search for something massive and overwhelming. Remind us that it is not you who demands large, lavish celebrations and enormous strobe-lit displays of faith. Rather, you ask only that we have the faith of a mustard seed and the willingness to let a small hand take ours. We are ready. Amen.
~~Margaret Anne Huffman