Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Here in this place

There is a hymn by Marty Haugen called "Here in This Place." It's one of those songs that gets stuck in my memory and shows up at the oddest times. The song seems to be about the church, the building, and all the life and faith events that happen there. This Place is a place where all are welcome and all are fed. Not usually a Christmas hymn, but today I beg to differ. For it is the place of Jesus' incarnation that all are gathered and all are fed.

Read the first verse, in the midst of Advent:

Here in this place, new light is streaming,
now is the darkness vanished away.
See, in this space, our fears and our dreamings,
brought here to you in the light of this day.
Gather us in - the lost and forsaken,
gather us in - the blind and the lame.
Call to us now, and we shall awaken,
we shall arise at the sound of our name.

At the moment I'm listening to Anne Rice's "Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt" as I travel to and from work. Yes, Anne Rice of Vampiric fame, has written a fascinating novel on the life of Jesus from ages 7 to at least 8. (I'm not done yet!)
Today, Jesus' older brother (son of Joseph, and his first wife) told Jesus what happened on the day of his birth. Young Jesus had learned that he was born in Bethlehem, and that the only room was the stable. Now he heard his brother tell of Mary, who at the birth wondered "Why? Why here in this place?" After the Angel Gabriel had announced this birth to Mary, and confirmed it with Joseph. After Elizabeth's son jumped for joy! Why was he born in a stable?

Mary's questions were soon answered as the Shepherds came to worship the new-born Christ the Lord. The one the angels announced once more, and this time they said it plain and clear: "You will find him lying in a manger, in a stable"

Christ was born, here in this place, for us to see, and know and worship. This place is a stable in Bethlehem, a cathedral in Rome, a church in Harper's Ferry, the home where you live and pray, and sing. The more I listen to (open this in another window and let it run) the hymn, and read through all the verses, the more I believe it is a Christmas Song.

Friday, December 04, 2009

From Generation to Generation

Psalm 90; A prayer of Moses the man of God.
1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.

2 Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the earth and the world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.

How many times have you celebrated Christmas? 20, 40, 85? The story never changes, the ending is always the same. But the celebration is never the same! From Generation to Generation the story has been told of God Incarnate: in the flesh.

Born as a child in a stable.

Laid in the hay by a very human mother.

Looked after by the ever-patient Joseph.

Announced by angels.

Visited by Shepherds and Kings.

But the telling is never exactly the same.

There are perhaps more tellings of this story than any other. More books, more sculptural depictions (Nativity Set) more plays and programs and music about this one birth, than about any other single person in the world.

This oldest story has one message: God love you so much that He came to visit in person, to save you from your sins.

The most told story has a million meanings. May you find meaning in the story of Christ's birht this year.