Hmmm…Not today, oh God, not today. Oh, please don’t ask us to get up and face this world with all of its poverty and sadness; with all of its loneliness and fear. Today, just today, can we get up and open presents and eat cakes and laugh and rest. Today, just today, can we sit comfortable and content. Today, just today, will you allow us - instead of worrying about the world - to instead bask in the promises of your light and help us to know the promise of your love is enough? Enough to vanquish the armies of hate with a child of hope.
Ah, yes, but it is this child of hope who calls us on this and every day to wake up and rise up and to bear the light of hope to all in need. I want to share a story with you.
Sarajevo-born cellist Vedran Smailovic was devastated by what he saw when he returned to his home country amidst the Bosnian War. But rather than retreat to the bomb shelters with everyone else, he chose to climb the rubble in his town square and play Mozart and Beethoven, even while the bombing was taking place. His story became well-known and has inspired many others - even a new work of music to be composed.
The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it. This is the Christmas promise. This is the promise of Christ upon which we gather for worship - for the “mass” (another name for worship). For a child is born in flesh and blood just like us and yet this same child was there before the dawn of time - the light and life of all creation.
This defies our ability to comprehend and yet God who is all powerful desires for us to comprehend; desires to be known by humans; desires for humans to know that we are not alone and that no matter how difficult things may get, that will not be the end of the story.
So, open the presents and eat the cake and rejoice for the real reason to rejoice: Christ is born again for our hearts and our lives and this world. Yes, open the presents and eat the cakes and yet also throw open the windows and share this good news. Find the doors of those who have not heard it yet or need to hear it again. Post it on social media, share it in a private hand-written note. Sing those carols - especially if you don’t think you have the voice for it. Climb to the top of the piles of rubble of this world’s tragedies with your best musical instrument in hand and let Christ’s song of defiant and vibrant life pour forth from you.
In all things learn again to praise God, who from before time stretched out with love and grace and truth and light for all the world, Christ who is born this day. Amen.
There may be a time for us to wish for a break, a rest and a respite.
But it is…not today. Amen.