We waited during Advent.
Christmas Day has come and gone.
The stores are advertising Valentine’s Day, but Christians are in the midst of the 12 days of Christmas. This is that lovely time when – without any hype, pressure, or expectations – we have the opportunity to celebrate and reflect on Christmas.
Now we get to ask – how will we respond to this Good News?
We know what the others did. What can we learn from them?
- Mary listened carefully, pondered these things in her heart, and trusted. She said yes to God and that made all the difference.
- Joseph defied social norms, placed his faith in God, and left the familiar behind – first moving to Bethlehem and then to Egypt.
- We even know about Mary’s relatives, Elizabeth and Zechariah. Their lives were transformed by their ability to believe they still had value in their old age. Society had pigeonholed them as dried up and done. God saw more in them.
- Shepherds – nameless, poor, working men who never got a day off – they broke out of their routine, left the familiar behind and were able to look into the face of God.
- The magi used their intellect as well as their hearts. They asked questions, didn’t accept the first answer they received, refused to allow obstacles to stop them and weren’t afraid to keep searching. They never thought they had to turn off their brains in order to be faithful – their gifts of knowledge and wonder led them to Christ.
In the days after Christmas we hear the stories of
- Anna. Yes! A named female prophet, a role model of prayer and reflection. She waited on God, looked for signs of God’s presences. Her open heart and wise spirit were able to recognize Jesus when no one else did. She reminds us to look for God in unexpected forms.
- Simeon gives thanks to God for Jesus’ birth. He knows he won’t live to witness Jesus’ life and ministry, but he’s able to place his trust in God for the unseen future.
Even the bad guys – Herod and Pilate – have a response to the birth of Jesus. Their wealth and power didn’t make them wise. They turned their backs on the Light of the world and spread fear, hate and destruction.
What is our response to Christ’s birth?
Here’s a wonderful poem that offers some insight:
“Invocation,” by Christine Rodgers
in the world
with infinite patience
the angels wait
beside their great invitation.
open our hearts.
give birth to love.
Will we answer