Happy Monday, Friends!
As we prepare for Christmas and all it brings, Advent beckons us to slow down and get ready for the birth of Christ. “And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn” (Luke 2:7). This is perhaps one of the best-known verses in the Bible which children learn early, and we repeat many times. Because it is so often repeated and is represented in so many cultural, religious, and multimedia presentations, we can lose sight of what happened in Bethlehem the night that Jesus came into the world as an infant.
In 2014, the artist Everett Patterson imagined what that night would have been like now in his piece “José y Maria.” His depiction drew significant praise as well as criticism. I encourage you to consider it.
A poor man, his pregnant teenage wife, and a baby about to be delivered. No vacancy at the local motel, if they could even afford it in the first place. What would it have been like to be Mary or Joseph? Advent is our chance to slow down and consider the miracle that is not only the incarnation of God, but that God was born in the poorest of circumstances with the fewest options. Advent calls us to remember that shortly after Jesus’ birth, he and his parents became political refugees and fled to avoid Herod’s tyrannical machinations. If Jesus is the reason for the season of Christmas, then being still and knowing that God is God (Psalm 46:10) is the reason for the season of Advent.
Friends, midst Christmas purchases, planning and attending parties, and getting your homes ready to host family, how are you slowing down and listening? How are you reflecting on the miracle of Christmas?
Let us pray: God, slow us down. We’re busy and Advent has become a time of swirling obligations and planning for Christmas. Ground us in each moment. Remind us to take the time to savor time with family and friends. Orient our efforts to you. We ask this through Jesus, who became like us so that we could have life with you. Amen.
Blessings, on this week, friends! Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you.