Our Christmas celebrations seem to slosh gently between Hallmark Channel sentimentality and intellectual formality. Somewhere between lies the sweet spot where we acknowledge the theological importance while marveling gratefully at the profound expression of Divine love cradled in a stable.
It’s really a tale of two dominions, two worldviews, two ways of being in the world. The prophet calls forth the painful world of a people walking in darkness – of the oppressor’s punishing rod, and tramping soldiers maintaining the power of the mighty. Luke reports the abusive imperial edict forcing the vulnerable into further hardship. That’s the darkness in the world, all too recognizable to us today, some far more painfully so than others. It is the darkness outside those doors, and the darkness that seeps into wounded hearts and clouded minds. Into broken households and fractured nations.
The other dominion, the other worldview, the other way of being, is a baby born in a stable who’s is the world of displaced, marginalized parents, sidelined shepherds, and glorious angels. It is the dominion of new life, an alternative way forward, a gentle firm response to the world’s belligerent darkness. This child’s way is the way of glory to God and endless peace on earth, of justice and righteousness. “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all,” is how it’s put in the New Testament letter to Titus.
In any case, tonight we join Mary to treasure all these things, and ponder it in our hearts.
Why did he come? He Came Down That We Might Have Love.
Christmas Eve at the Reedville Church, 7:30 pm