The Visitation

I’m yearning right now. Maybe you are too. I want with all my heart to wake-up and find a world in which peace among all God’s creation is a reality. That’s my Christmas Day wish. That’s all I want for Christmas!

Okay, so I know it must be true that I’ve grown up some since my list writing during the pre-Christmas season unbeknownst to me at the time as Advent. As a child I could barely fall asleep with excitement and anticipation of that Christmas morning feel! What would be waiting for me under the tree? It’s no longer what, but who I want. I want Jesus.

This year when I looked at the lectionary calendar and saw that Christmas falls on a Sunday, I was elated to discover that Christmas actually falls on Feast day -Sunday. The timing seems special and significant. All of this building up and anticipating Christ’s arrival, Son of God born among us…. Wow! I know this enthusiastic response is not shared equally. But it truly is the best gift ever given, bare none! For me, that is.

My former home parish seldom had more than half-a-dozen intrepid visitors to celebrate a quiet, usually snowy Christmas day liturgy. It was a small gathering and that was fine by me. Few is no less sacred than many. “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am with them.” (Mt 18:20) It was a joy to see the same faces each year, mostly folks come up to the mountains for winter vacation.

Mary & the Baby JesusIt meant a lot to us and to them to share in worship on this most precious day, joining our voices in hushed joy. What beauty there was in that sacred quietude, almost whispering as if we didn’t want to wake the child! God resting from the effort of being born into the world.

Christmas Day worship, for me, feels like a special invitation that I was blessed to receive. I treasure it in equal but different measure from Christmas Eve celebrations. It’s as if the big birthday party has ended, all the relatives have gone home and the parents have settled in to take some deep breaths and simply appeciate the treasure birthed before them. I think God indulges in that moment too.

I remember when my first child was born. It was a few days after and I was all alone, nursing my son. We had brought him home on a snowy day and now it was just us as a new family. My husband had gone to the town ‘refuse gardens’ aka ‘dump’. When he returned, he tiptoed into the bedroom, presumably expecting to see Mother and son asleep. Instead, I was blubbering! His face took on a startled look and he exclaimed, “What’s wrong??!!!” Between sobs, I choked out the words, “I’m so blissed-out.” Gulp.

That’s the kind of rare and powerful love that God feels for us and makes known to us when God enters the world through the womb of an unwed mother. During the months of pregnancy, a woman has the chance to prepare mentally and physically for the arrival of the baby in a way that is uniquely hers. All of us though, male and female, have the opportunity to prepare for and marvel over the baby’s arrival. As we await the birth of Jesus, may each one be blessed by the power of holy pregnancy.

Pastor Susan+