Dec. 11, 2011
John 1:9-10, 14
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came to the Father, full of grace and truth.
My neighbor, Tina brought over a poem she wrote last year during the Advent Season. It fits right into the reason why I decided to do this Advent Devotional this year. Last Sunday, Tina shared this in church. And with her permission, I share it here:
Forgive us our sins, Dear God
At this Christmas time,
We should take a moment to give you thanks
As we stand in yet another line.
But we don’t give you a single thought
Because our minds are too busy racing
Planning the next six stops to make,
And that “gotta have it” gift we’re forever chasing.
Who has time to think of you?
We have to find a place to park.
Thank goodness the malls are open late
With all the fluorescent neon lights
Who notices when it gets dark?
Maybe we’ll find time to think of you
For an hour on Christmas Eve
And that is if we decide to go to church.
We might remember that we believe.
But all the cookies still need frosting
And last minute party invites start to appear,
So we decide the service is what we’ll skip,
Better try again next year.
It appears we’ve buried this holy day
Under a mountain of unimportant things,
We’re so busy endlessly talking and talking
We never hear the angels sing.
The colors and lights of our parties
Are glittering and sparkly bright,
But they blind us from those
Who cry out for food or safety from a war
That doesn’t stop for the night.
How could we possibly remember
The meaning of this day,
It’s enough we remember gift receipts as the hours tick away.
And that annual Christmas letter
We still have that to do,
All the wonderful things we include in it,
We forget they’re all blessings from you.
Still the end of Christmas season finally comes
And we box up all the garland and lights,
It all goes back in the basement
On a shelf and out of sight.
We’re glad to vacuum all the needles
And put things back in their place
At last a time to just sit
And rest from the dizzying pace.
But then we see it
Tucked in a corner by the chair,
A stray Christmas ornament
That fell through the branches
And all season stayed hidden there.
We pick it up and look at it closely
It contains the Christ child’s gentle face
And that’s when it hits us,
The only reason for Christmas
We let stay hidden
While we joined in the commercial Christmas race.
That on that cold angel-filled night
Perfect love was born on earth.
And shamefully we’ve given everything else
Far more value and worth
Than the birth of that one baby
That wise men came seeking.
They worshipped him the Savior
But to his mother who sang to him
He was her newborn son
Who lay peacefully sleeping.
And so on the rare occasion
When we linger outside and look up
At your uncountable stars,
Forgive us for ignoring you
And remind us that the path to you is not far.
If we walk close to you
Everyday through the year,
Then when next Christmas comes
It will find us near
To the manger and the baby
Who was God here on earth
And we’ll rejoice with the angels
For we have found our way back
To Christmas’ true worth.
Fortunately, it’s not too late to remember the true reason for the season this year. Tina – thanks for these wonderful words as a reminder of why we even have a Christmas holiday.
FYI – if you come to Midland UMC’s “Live Nativity” tonight, Tina will be Eunice, the noisy lady from Nazareth who also went to Bethlehemduring the census. She’ll be looking for Mary and Joseph, to see if their baby has arrived.
O Holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us we pray. May your face be what we see as we journey through Advent this year. Amen.