As you might guess, Christmas-the whole of the season, from
early Advent through each of the 12 days-is a tender time for me. I seem to feel more; think more; worry,
wonder, and fuss more. I don't mind all that extra emotion and
reflection. Somehow it's good for
me-enlivens me. I am more real,
somehow. Which, of course, is what the
season is really about-helping us to live real lives, as real people. That's the Incarnation-God as Real Person.
And there's the
irony, right? A season that invites us
to be real, honest, flesh and heart people is encased (nearly entombed) in
something so amazingly fake. The
cultural embrace of Christmas is what it is, and as I said a few weeks ago, I'm
not turning that tide. I can't. In 1958 (yep, the year I was born) Lawrence
Ferlinghetti wrote one of the great, true Christmas poems
and he began these simple words:
his bare Tree
ran away to where
were no rootless Christmas trees
with candycanes and breakable stars
years ago voices and poets were pushing
against the fake to get to the real, and it's still the case. It's worth the push. Real is good.
That's what the Incarnation is all about: Real Life. God within the Real World. Emmanuel.
God with Us.
two things that truly enliven me each Christmas-that help me live in the real
world. First, it's the people I get to
work with. The heart and hope, and even
zeal, that Candee, Susan, Ann and Debbie put into making Grace Happen inspires
me and gives me faith. The folks who
lead and serve here add to that rich experience, and through them Grace is
Real. Secondly, it's all of you. As I imagine seeing you tomorrow night-seeing
friends and family and so many new faces-as I picture us together I end up
feeling more real, more true. There is
something in who we are together, as we sing, say our prayers, laugh, serve,
that makes not just the season real, but life itself. Thank you for that rich gift.
soon. Tomorrow night, or on Christmas morning.
And if you are traveling, spread
the Real Good News of Grace!
the Christmas schedule if you need a reminder: Christmas at Grace