This Sunday is the last Sunday of Advent. It’s the last time this year we’ll sing the Benedictus around the candles, the last week of blue paraments, the last week of anticipation before we get to those beloved readings in Luke 2 and John 1. Sunday will see our Wayfarers meet in the evening, the night will go and the next day is Christmas Eve.
We have several services for Christmas: the 4:30 Children’s Service, the 7:30 Candlelight Service, and the Christmas Day Service at 11 a.m. Each has their own particular emphases—the Christmas Eve services are proclamations with the angels of the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, with songs of great joy. The Christmas Day service is more contemplative, like the day after a birth. But both are the story of God’s eternal Word breaking into time, the story of the human being who is the Son of God.
If you woke up this morning, like me, you might have woken up to chaos. Secretaries of Defense are resigning, the government is going to shut down, and kids need to get to Pre-School and the doctor. Before we leave Advent, maybe it’s good to remember what Jesus said about his coming—“So also, when you see these things taking place, you know that the kingdom of God is near…Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.”
Remain steadfast. Our hope is Christ, the babe of Bethlehem, the crucified Saviour, the one who was, who is, and who is to come. Don’t stop loving, serving, singing. God is faithful—this is the message of Christmas.
Another way of thinking of it is in this poem by Madeline L’Engle:
The Risk of Birth, Christmas, 1973
This is no time for a child to be born,
With the earth betrayed by war & hate
And a comet slashing the sky to warn
That time runs out & the sun burns late.
That was no time for a child to be born,
In a land in the crushing grip of Rome;
Honour & truth were trampled by scorn–
Yet here did the Saviour make his home.
When is the time for love to be born?
The inn is full on the planet earth,
And by a comet the sky is torn–
Yet Love still takes the risk of birth.