One Christmas, my mother had a particularly large grin on her face. Not that she didn’t normally enjoy Christmas – she loved it very much – but this Christmas she was especially happy. That Christmas, her sister and niece were visiting from Denmark, and both my brother and I were home. Someone noticed and asked her why. She replied, “all the people I love are in one place.”
Christmas is a crowded season. We rush to make sure the Christmas cards are sent, the yard is decorated, the fridge is stocked, the cookies are made, the stockings are hung, and the tree is trimmed. And then we scramble to tie our tie, get to church, or get to grandma’s. But sometimes, in the midst of all that, there is a moment, perhaps while we are singing “Silent Night,” perhaps while you are taking your first sip of coffee before the chaos begins, perhaps while you are hearing those familiar words of scripture or liturgy, “let it be our care and delight to hear again the message of the Angels, and in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, and the Babe lying in a manger,” or, “the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth,” when the scramble ceases and we find ourselves suspended in time, almost floating, enraptured by the Truth we celebrate. That moment can be fleeting, some years we can’t find it, but some years … God is just so close.
And that moment, that Christmas Moment, is often among the people we love. Those people could be blood family, the family we choose, coworkers, colleagues, or even strangers. Those people could be our parish family at the Chapel of the Cross. And sometimes we cannot be with all the people we love: service has taken them far away, brokenness and estrangement keep us from gathering as one, and some have joined the community of the saints. The latter, in the words of the Bidding Prayer from Lessons and Carols, “rejoice with us, but upon another shore and in a greater light, that multitude which no one can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh.” We mourn these separations, especially at Christmas, but we our comforted by the Eucharist, that holy table, and holy meal through which all are one and all are together through Christ. But those familial connections often intensify and brighten as December 25th approaches, and those connections are interwoven with the ultimate connection: our connection with the incarnate God.
My sisters and brothers, this Christmas, I pray you find a Christmas Moment, a moment when “all is calm, all is bright.” It could happen anywhere: in the Chapel, during a child or grandchild’s Christmas program, in your pajamas in front of the tree, or with the people you love. May your Christmas Moment be among your beloved, bring you great delight, and give glory to the Christ Child, the “God with us.” Christmas blessings to you and yours.
Come, Let Us Adore Him,