Scripture: Luke 1:26-38
You may be experiencing the full sacred bliss of these days. Your cup may be overflowing. God may be exceeding your wildest expectations. If so, I rejoice in your spiritual abundance and I encourage you to honor God by savoring and delighting in this blessing. But if you are anything like me, you may feel like you aren’t quite getting Christmas.
We prepare for it during the weeks of Advent, lighting candles of hope, peace, joy and love. And yet, when it arrives, after all that preparation and anticipation, I struggle to feel those things. I believe them, I proclaim them–but I don’t feel them. At least not purely, the way I think I should.
Hope gets overshadowed by grief. Peace gets overshadowed by exhaustion. Joy becomes overshadowed by resentment and conflict. Love is overshadowed by worry. And this year, all of these sacred days are overshadowed by brutal war in the land we call holy, against exactly the kind of family we worship in our nativity scenes.
I don’t know how to feel in these days. All is not calm. All is not bright. But when I seek wisdom in the word, the Spirit shows me that, in the message that first started it all, the angel came to Mary and announces that God’s own Spirit is going to overshadow her, and that beneath and within that shadow, God will conceive new life in her. She will know the miracle of salvation in her own flesh, because all that she is will be encircled and embraced by the fullness of God. She will be overshadowed. That is the revelation. That is the promise.
So I hope you will come knowing and feeling all that is true and good and bright without denying or numbing all that is also true and hard and painful. Because our hope isn’t in how we prepare, what we know or how we feel, but in the goodness of the God who sees us, loves us, chooses us and overshadows our whole selves and our whole real world with sacred, transforming love.
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