December 24, 2021

“The Word became flesh and blood and moved into the neighborhood. We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory, like Father, like Son, Generous inside and out, true from start to finish.” John 1:14 The Message

Last week I happened to be on virtual school supervision duty with Marie-Hélène for the morning meeting. After the student-led prayer (it is an Episcopal school), the Pledge of Allegiance, and the weather report the teacher asked if anyone had any questions before they moved into story time.

I overheard Marie-Helene raise her hand and get called on. She asked, “Is God real?”

Teacher, after missing a few beats bought a few extra seconds to thing by saying, “That’s a great question, Marie-Hélène. I know God is real because parents love their children, children love their parents, and friends love each other.”

There will be Christmas Eve worship this evening with Candle Lighting and Communion, with all the usual snacks to follow at home as we watch A Christmas Carol. Christmas morning will have its own liturgy of stockings, the Bible story, breakfast, and exchanging gifts. Those are the activities and routines of Christmas at our house.

And underneath and around and through it all, I pray that we will sense the love of God who willingly became one of us and “moved into the neighborhood.” God gave up everything but love to become a human being. I imagine that as an infant, Jesus cried with hunger or a dirty diaper and was embraced by a mother. As a toddler, he skinned his knees and received a kiss to make them better. Working side by side with his father, he got splinters and Joseph pulled them out and placed ointment on them. He faced ridicule, rejection betrayal, a horrific and public execution and death, and his mother and best friends remained nearby to the end.  God chose all this when becoming flesh – the full human experience without a get out of jail free card.

The real gift this year will not be the ones wrapped in paper and ribbon. It will be the small and large expressions of love that witness to Jesus in our midst.

Yes, Marie-Hélène, God is real. God is love! Merry Christmas! ~ Nana

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