December 25, 2009

Quiet Christmas Morning

This has been a really difficult Advent and Christmas season for me.  It is the time of light and hope and joy and peace, but I'm not quite there yet.

I want to be there.  I long for the coming of true light and true hope-filled promises and true joy and true peace.  I guess I did much better in the Advent time of waiting and preparation than I am on this Christmas morning.   It's quiet here, except for the wind rushing through the trees.  And it seems a little lonely and sad.  But for some reason, that suits how my spirit is.  I am immensely grateful that I'm not surrounded at this moment by the chaos of presents being opened and sqeals of joy.  That doesn't exactly fit with my picture of the first Christmas anyways.

No, on that first Christmas... that first time that we celebrated the birth of this holy child... the first time God was worshipped in human form... was (to translate a little)... was in a dirty barn.  At least that's how the story goes in Luke.  And it was just Mary and Joseph and the sheep and goats and cattle and birds in the rafters.  It probably smelled like shit... not evergreen. 

In the middle of the night, some shepherds rushed in.  They came from the fields and were dusty - but hey they fit right in.  And they walked in with their lanterns and sat down and told their story.  I imagine Mary and Joseph were terrified at first and though they were about to be robbed.... and then were amazed... and comforted that they weren't crazy... that God really did have a purpose for this special child. 

And then the shepherds left. And it was quiet again.  Just Mary and Joseph and the Christ Child.... and the sheep and goats and cattle.

We don't hear about angels visiting the holy family that first night.  We don't hear about any other guests.  The wisemen probably didn't appear until a year or two later.  It was on this night that the star appeared and they first started their quest. 

No, it was quiet, and dark, and probably cold and still.  Worship was a story of glorious revelation and quiet adoration of an infant.  Maybe some bread was shared. And when morning came - when the hustle and bustle of the world began again and that village woke up... I bet no one had any idea what had taken place. 

Mary and Joseph started over in Bethlehem... found a place to stay... and after some time had passed and the child started crawling and then teetering around some crazy dudes from the east showed up.... but that's a story for another day.

My prayers are with all of you who are busy and chaotic this morning.  My prayers are with all of you who are alone for the first time in many years.  My prayers are with you who are always alone on this morning.  May we each find peace and joy and hope and love and light in some quiet corner of this morning.  And may we remember that first Christmas.

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