A Glorious Thing Rises on Christmas
(Posted December 23, 2021)
“Christmas is built upon a beautiful and intentional paradox; that the birth of the homeless should be celebrated in every home.” - G.K. Chesterton
Christmas, it seems, is filled with paradoxes. We peer through the window of time to see them.
The pregnant virgin.
The curious census count by the powerful Emperor of powerless people he couldn’t have cared about.
People converging on the towns where they were born, in an era of instability, a time of doubt in what was true or not, when no one trusted authority itself.
The exhausting trip in the cold from Nazareth to a little nothing of a town.
And the town with a name that belies the hungry trek of this couple: Bethlehem – meaning The House of Bread.
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What glorious thing could possibly rise like yeast from this little backwater?
And then there was the fact that, for the time being, this couple and a baby pushing to come forth into this dark world, were homeless. When the only place that Mary could bring forth her baby was among the cattle in a stable, here in the House of Bread, Mary laid her little boy in a manger, a place for grain and hay: cattle feed.
And in this moment, this brief second between the groans of delivery and the first cries of a new life, the Bethlehem skies are filled with angels. And they announced to the poor and the inconsequential, and that includes us, that the whole Universe had changed: Behold, for this day The Bread of Heaven has risen in the City of David, Bethlehem. Glory be to God in the highest.
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Christmas: Bread of Hope, Bread of Heaven
We likewise live in a time of paradox. For many of us, our lives this Christmas are tinged with mourning, for those we’ve lost from ill health and from our own fear of pestilence. But more than many recent Christmases, we need the nourishment of hope.
So this Christmastime we do a very faithful thing. We bake cookies. We frost them with our trust in God. We sprinkle them with sprinkles because, well, that’s what Christmas is about. Our homes become the houses of bread. And then we share this bread of hope, this bread of heaven, with the people that we are fortunate enough to see in person this year.
As we prepare to follow the Star to Christmas Eve services, my prayer for you all is that you will let the starshine fill your heart. Blessings and peace be yours this Christmas.