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Into the Fray - Dec 21

By Diane Leggewie on
Diane Leggewie
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Dec 24 in Musings
It’s almost Christmas, so let’s go down the checklist from the last week:
a)       met with folks apprehensive about seeing too much family over the holidays         CHECK.
b)      talked with folks sad about NOT seeing family over the holidays?  CHECK.
c)       listened to people stressing way too much over way too small of an issue?  CHECK.
d)      met with a couple in conflict?  CHECK.
e)       watched some of our street friends struggle through addiction symptoms, mental      health issues and hygiene challenges?  CHECK.
f)       felt the weight of the abysmal state of national and world affairs as year end              approaches? CHECK.
g)      saw the dazed looks of frantic shoppers trying desperately to get one more thing        done? CHECK. 
h)      felt the stress of people trying to serve others but forgetting that tone, attitude and      posture matter deeply?  CHECK.
Yep, it’s almost Christmas. Same thing every year. I put on the Christmas music, we decorate the tree, light the candles and realize...the world is a mess. We are a mess. It will never be, despite my idealistic thoughts and attempts, a neat and cozy world with all the problems solved. Never, this side of the second coming of Jesus. It’s exhausting. Surely God is more wearied by it all than we, surely we wonder why He puts up with all of it- the misery, the greed, the violence. Why, God, why?  Did You know it would get like this?  It’s such a mess.
It’s almost Christmas, the time when the incarnation focuses our attention on the utterly unanticipated strategy of God. Such an unlikely step. We read the scriptures. We sing the narrative. We use our imagination, and poets help us with this work. Here is a poem from the 20th century Welsh poet and Anglican priest R.S. Thomas:
The Coming
And God held in his hand
A small globe. Look, he said.
The son looked. Far off,
As through water, he saw
A scorched land of fierce
Colour. The light burned
There; crusted buildings
Cast their shadows; a bright
Serpent, a river
Uncoiled itself, radiant
With slime.
          On a bare
Hill a bare tree saddened
The sky. Many people
Held out their thin arms
To it, as though waiting
For a vanished April
To return to its crossed
Boughs. The son watched
Them. Let me go there, he said. 
It’s all there, right?  Trinity, incarnation, sin, evil, crucifixion, a hint of resurrection. All the theological words we need, but even more. A picture of a God who chooses, a God who says “Yes,” a God who gives Himself. A God who does not shy away from the messes we are or have made, but willingly enters in. 
            It’s almost Christmas. Thank God.
See you soon,
       Pastor Dan
P.S. If I don’t see you this weekend- Anne and I send our love and wishes for a blessed Christmas!
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