Soon Advent will be over. Our watching, waiting, and preparing come to a close. Behold! A Savior is born! Christmas marks the day that our Lord Jesus Christ entered into the world to make all things new. The ministry of Jesus will be marked with prophecy, changing the world order (“the last shall be first and the first shall be last” Matthew 20:16), bringing new understanding to scripture, and to institute a new commandment (John 13:34). Jesus will also break bread with his disciples, and others, which will form the basis for Holy Communion for years to come. The birth of Jesus is THE event that truly changes everything, and the ONE person in whom we can place our hope.
When we have loved ones who are dying, it can be difficult to see the hope we have in Jesus. Sometimes all we can focus on is the hurt and sadness we feel, and wonder if it can ever be lifted. But that’s where Jesus meets us. Christ meets us in our suffering and walks with us through the trials we face. We are never abandoned! And just as the birth of Christ provides hope for something new, the death of our loved ones can also bring us hope-- the hope of the resurrection and the life everlasting.
Christ was born into this world to take on human form and live like us, so that he might truly understand what it is like to be human, and what the struggles that we face can be. That’s why Jesus knows how you feel, even now, even in the midst of your suffering and sadness. And know that Jesus cries with you.
On Sunday we celebrate the birth of Jesus. And the day before, on Christmas Eve, Hanukkah begins. How amazing that these two traditions share both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. And the day after Christmas, on December 26th, Kwanzaa begins. It’s the trifecta of Holy Days. And that means that this year is a little more special than all the others. At a time when it seems like unity is impossible, three religions join in celebration. We celebrate hope. We celebrate life. And, we celebrate you.