It is a bit of an oxymoron when we attend Christmas Eve services to listen to Luke’s Christmas Story…settling in quite comfortably and peacefully in our pews to hear the reassuring familiar words read again.
Because if we think about the words and passages in the story, it is not an innocent child-like bedtime story… but a story filled with conflict; the Christmas Story has a little of everything in it…pastoral scenes disrupted by loud ‘alien’ noises coming from the heavens, mystery, intrigue, murder plotting, political scheming, plans for lodging gone array, exhaustion and fearful bewilderment, pain and joy merging together, etc. It makes National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation look carefree.
Quinn Caldwell, theologian, pastor, author reminds his Christmas Eve congregation ahead of time that if they came to the Christmas Eve service expecting a tame story…they were in the wrong place. Caldwell continues with a “BUT”… if you came because:
...”You think that unwed teenage mothers are some of the strongest people around.
If you came because you think that the kind of people who work third shift doing stuff you’d rather not do might attract an angel’s attention before you, snoring comfortably in your bed would.
If you came because you think there are wise men and women to be found among undocumented travelers from far lands and that they might be able to show you God.
If you came to hear a story of tyrants trembling while heaven comes to the peasants.
If you came because you believe God loves the animals as much as the people and so made them the first witnesses to the saving of the world.
If you came for a story of reversals that might end up reversing you.
If you came for a tale of adventure and bravery, where strong and gentle people win, and the powerful and violent go down to dust, where the rich lose their money but find their lives and the poor are raised up like kings.
If you came to be reminded that God loves you too much to leave you unchanged
If you came to follow the light even if it blinds you.
If you came for salvation and not safety, then ah, my friends, you are in precisely the right place.”
So until tomorrow…Change us God to be the people we should be… Open to Your Word and accepting of others…a Child of God who is loved equally and unconditionally by YOU with all Your other children ! Give me Your understanding that surpasses all other understandings.
“Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
Happy Christmas Eve!