Reflection by Rev. Jan Hryniewicz
Text: Luke 2: 1 – 20
Emmanuel means “God with us”. Here, where myth and history intersect, God stands in our midst and we are none of us too poor, too broken, too sinful, too rejected by the world to know God’s glory. In the very depth of our humanity we discover the power of the Sacred and every human experience is transformed. For the Word is made flesh and dwells in our midst, dwells wherever we are willing to recognize it. …… Gertrud Mueller Nelson. To Dance with God
Gertrud Mueller Nelson’s beautiful words from To Dance with God, really move me and capture for me, the essence of the Christmas message. Beautiful, simple, profound. I invite you to come to a new place of birthing tonight… I invite you to recognize and experience the Divine Spirit standing in our midst …welcoming, forgiving, healing, loving. Those of us who have chosen the Christian path, have experienced the fullness of God’s glory in Jesus the gentle rabbi from Nazareth whose birth we celebrate tonight.
Christmas eve is a magical night when thousands of people are drawn to worship, searching for a gift that only God can give…. unconditional love and peace of mind. We come, exhausted by the hectic preparations, to rest in the arms of the Spirit…. for one brief hour….to experience the miracle of the birth in music, words and community. Christmas eve is not a time for long, theological sermons ( do I hear and amen to that?!) It’s a night to be vulnerable to the Spirit….to be inspired to accept the divine gift.
This year, our 150th year of ministry here at Union Church our Advent theme has been A light in the Dark….. anticipating, discerning, embracing and reflecting….that glorious light of God. We have discussed the importance of our readiness to recognize the Light …to awaken to the fact that the divine light is already within each of us…. the divine/human connection, revealed in Jesus, is a gift already given to each of us in the dawn of creation. We just have to unwrap it….nurture it and let it shine!
It’s easy for us to get overcome by the darkness in the world around us, isn’t it? The news is depressing, continual reports of violence, racial tension, greed, injustice and the list of horrors goes on! We can easily become obsessed with CNN or FOX or whatever we choose to listen to. The darkness has always been ….and perhaps always will be….a part of our existence, the downside of freedom of choice. And yet, the marvelous news is….that for every act of darkness…..there are multiple acts of light. Light has come into the world and the darkness cannot overcome it! I believe that and I hope you do also!
There are countless acts of kindness happening….. compassionate gifts of love freely offered…. thousands working for justice/peace…for a sustainable planet ..for humane treatment of animals….astounding acts of generosity….. the divine spirit is at work in the universe … the Light IS shining in the darkness. Each of us….. you and I are reflectors of the light of God….becoming part of the miracle of God’s incarnation into human form that we celebrate tonight. Discern it, embrace it….reflect it….. and feel the glow.
Scholar/ author Cynthia Borgeault writes: As each of us awakens to our own deepest aliveness and begins to live out of it, we too — no less than Jesus — show forth what God is like in human form.
And, this, my dear friends…..is the work of Christmas….the opportunity and the miracle of Christmas.
Ann Weems….( edited)
The unwrapping of God’s greatest gift is near. ..God will take away the tinsel and decorate our hearts in hope so that people can sit laughing in the rain, knowing that the Divine Spirit is going to shine in upon their being. For no matter how long the darkness, God will send the light. In spite of the cursing and violence and the massacring of human dignity, we will dance in the streets of Bethlehem, for He will be born!”
The light will shine and the darkness will never overcome it. We are the Light. Go forth and shine!