This is the first week in Advent, a time in the church calendar marked by a time expectantly awaiting the birth of the Christ child, anticipating the light to re-enter the world. Now, I know that Jesus wasn’t actually born on December 25th and that the date was chosen to coincide with already existing pagan winter festivals that also celebrate light during the dark half of the year. I know that Christmas and all of its festivities and symbols (candles, lights, wreaths, trees, presents, etc.) all derive from much older pagan customs. I have no problem with that and completely embrace and accept the pagan roots of Christianity; there’s no point in denying the facts. However, even though the celebration of Jesus’ birth is one that’s completely symbolic at this time of year, there is still a story and a message carried in those symbols that touches our lives today.
Christ’s coming into this world brought with it light, hope, and love. He served as our direct line to God, delivering the Divine’s desires and blessings directly to the people.Born of a woman and delivered to Earth, Christ represented the union between spirit and flesh, the Word and the world contained within one body. The very Word and essence of God was to inhabit our planet and experience it through the eyes of humanity. The spiritual and physical, human and Divine, a man who both embraced the profane and celebrated what was to come. He passed no judgement on the sick, the scarred, the mentally ill, divorced, poor, or otherwise unclean. He did not shun the dirty and the broken. Those who had set themselves apart from the unwashed masses of their fellow man, those who were convinced of their own moral superiority, the ones who “knew better” than to cast in their lot with the likes of Jesus and his companions, those were the ones whose lives were met with judgement and correction.
Christ saw divinity and love in all of humanity, because he recognized that he too was having a human experience. Here was God’s own son, one who was truly holier than thou, who was unwilling to separate himself from those dismissed by polite society. Jesus was the missionary of God’s own heart, a minister of Divine unending love and Grace blindly bestowed on all, regardless of the rules and judgements erected by men. He came and let us know that God is bigger, and brighter, and better than the Law. Christ’s birth and life demonstrated that God can and will be found amongst us, even in the most unlikely of places, if we but look with eyes that see. You cannot say, “Here is God”, and, “There is God”, when divinity lives in all. You cannot say that God isn’t to be found amongst us, in the things of this Earth, when God has already dwelt on this Earth before – fingers, toes, tears, blood and all.
While Christ’s earthly body may have died, He did not truly leave us. As we enter this time of expectant joy, lighting our candles in the dark, once again watching for His arrival, let us be reminded that we don’t actually have to stand by for very long before finding his presence living amongst us once again. All we have to do is close our eyes, open our hearts, and realize that the the love of God in Christ is within us and around us at every moment of our lives. No waiting required.
+ K +