Ahh, this is the season and come Christmas the reason
to return again to Scrooge and Rouge and Pure White Light.
Sure enough, it’s the season of DREAMS.
So what is the SONG of your dreams?
Maybe we’ll join Betty and Bob [Bing] and Judy and Phil.
“I’m dreaming of a White Christmas, just like the ones we used to know.”
Maybe we’ll go on over to Londontown. We’ll walk up to Bedlam with old Ebenezer and hear that spooky spirit Jacob Marley hiss out,
“Scrooooge.” (The sight of it has freaked me out since I was 5!) And surely we’ll all relish in the rouged red cheeks of our own sainted Santa, all “chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, and you laugh when you see him, in spite of yourself.” All of it: de-lightful! But we are well reminded, here in the church, this first Sunday of Advent, all a diversion of dreams, if we do not dream the dreams of God that Christmas brings and do not sing the songs of hope that Christmas sings. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace between us and Heaven.” “…Pleased with us in flesh to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel.” Or as John’s Gospel sings the song, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.” Don’t miss one wonder-filled word in that line. The verb: to dwell! Literally, it means to pitch a tent! Do you get it? Christmas is God choosing to pitch his tent on your front lawn in the person of Jesus! Move over, inflatable Santa, Twinkle-lighted Rudolph, Frosty, Charlie Brown & gang, Jesus is living on your lawn this year. How will you host him? What will you sing for him? Will you let him in to use the facilities (not those, I mean the facilities of your heart)? Will you invite him to Christmas dinner, or wrap a box for him and put it under your tree? By the way, there’s only one gift he’s asked for this year. It’s his entire Christmas list! YOUR HEART! (Wouldn’t it be great, if this 12/25, under your tree were 1 wrapped box for each person, with a tag, marked, FROM: Name, TO: Jesus? And inside, a simple red paper heart with these words, “Dear Jesus, TODAY, I give you my heart! Happy birthday!” Do that, and I promise you it will change the day, and maybe, your beloved’s life.
The day is coming, Isaiah promised, long before Jesus, when, “Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill made low; the uneven ground become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, [God tenting on the front lawn] for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” John tells us that now is the time. And it is momentous! See, “In the beginning was the Word, with God, of God. All things were made through him, and without him not even one thing was made. In him: life, and that life, our very light. It shines, even in the dark, and cannot be overcome. …THIS Word now flesh, pitching tent right here, full of grace and truth. You can see it: GLORY as of the only Son from the Father.”
Now God loves Scrooge, in spite of himself. (Us too.) And he cheers at Santa’s rouge. (As we.) He must like snowfall. Afterall, it’s God who sets it ‘round, ‘round the Holidays. But for God, LIGHT is the thing. Pure. White. Light. When God brings Jesus, God brings light, with all God’s gentleness and all God’s might. It was not, is not easy. God had and has tried so many other ways. ‘Sent the message to the tribes of Israel, “I choose you to be light to the nations!” Sent Moses with his Law. And ever since, the Hebrew peoples have believed the world a broken place. And that living by the law, the commandments, the rules, is the holy and just way to fix the brokenness. But not they, nor all the prophets, nor kings, can fix it. Because, you see (as God does), this world is not merely broken, for all it’s brokenness. (Maybe that’s why all our revolts and revolutions, politics and posturing never make it right.) The world, and we who live here, NOT just broken, BUT Fallen! Utterly, completely, otherwise hopelessly fallen. A sinking orb, acceleratingly farther and farther from heaven, and with no one and nothing to stop the drop! Or defeat the dark. SO, HERE”S WHAT GOD DOES! CHRISTMAS! When nothing can fix us, GOD REACHES OUT TO CATCH AND TO LIFT US! He doesn’t SEND. He COMES! He LIVES. He PITCHES TENT! He LIGHTS. Pure: no flaw. WHITE: the presence of the whole rainbow seen in each color, hew and heart of us. LIGHT. No darkness at all. Anymore. ‘Way beyond Scrooge. Realer than rouge.
Dreamier than snow, and more romantic than all the Christmas romances the Hallmark Channel can show, and more sacred in song than all the tunes FM 101.9 can air all month. And this is not for but day, but for always. And for those who come to the Light, it is our way. Our way to light and lift with God, not to fix the broken, but to lift the fallen. I pray you’ll remember, this Advent….
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas [Light] begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers [and sisters],
To make music in the heart.
[To give eternity to the soul.]
The Mood of Christmas, Howard Thurman
Watch and see, light and lift and love, this Christmas.