When Christmas Turns Upside Down

peacefully endure tear gas, rubber bullets, and water canons in sub freezing temperature to protect the heritage they hold dear. Even though the Native community has received some good news of late, I still feel no peace about their long term future. Much closer to home, in the state of Georgia in the last month six police officers have been killed in the line of duty. Two at a traffic stop, two responding to a dispute between neighbors call, and two responding to a domestic dispute. These were good guys doing what was for them a regular days work. Now they leave a hole in the lives of their families and communities. I would try to cheer myself up out of my gloom and tell myself it is not my problem. Except as a Christian, as a human, I know that it is my problem. I’ve done a good bit of supply preaching of late and the Scriptures have been filled with not cheer, but warning and exhortations. Stay awake! Pay attention to what is happening around you says the first Sunday of Advent. The warnings go on to tell us what we do to the least of these we do unto God. Then John the Baptists comes and tells us to repent. To prepare the way of the Lord. Prepare for the same Lord who tells us the story about the least of these. And the exhortation to get ready coming from a guy who lives in the woods wearing camel’s hair and eating locusts and honey. And then we hear the story of Mary and Elizabeth. A story that could be sentimentalized were it not for Mary’s great magnificat. A poem that tells about bringing down the powerful and and lifting up the lowly. Talks about filling the hungry and sending the rich away empty. So in the midst of these words and warnings I think I’ll just keep that tree bare for now and be okay with that. Maybe it is alright to cry a little in Advent. Maybe it is okay to feel the pain of the not yet, the pain of a world in need of its redeemer. A world that needs Jesus to come again and again until all things are made new. When Christmas comes I will celebrate. For God has come to be with us. Even in our tragedy. Even in our pain. And this presence is our hope and salvation. But for these last days of preparation, I will tell my heart it is okay to be sad. For my sadness means I am paying attention to the wounds of the world. I am seeing the places that need to be covered with healing and light and love. Because Jesus’s coming does not mean I get to just sit back and drink eggnog and be happy about the birth of a baby. For this is the baby born in the dirt of a stable to backwater parents who had very little rights in their own home land. This is the baby that with his parents had to flee from their home and run for their lives. The refugee baby that was sheltered in a nearby land while countless others were massacred. This is the baby that when you look in his eyes, it makes you get up and walk a different way for you have seen the world in a whole new light. So if your Christmas has been turned upside down, Take heart. You are not alone. Let’s keep watching and waiting and looking for the Christ child in our midst. For he is coming. One way or another. He will always come.  ]]>

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1 thought on “When Christmas Turns Upside Down”

  1. I have to say that I hate your sadness because I like to see my friends happy. For the last couple months, though, I have seen sadness behind your smile. Take heart, dear one…Fear not…God is for you and we are praying for you. And we ARE just.passing.through. I know it still matters. What happens matters. And the best we can do is pray to our Almighty Powerful Father who loves us like no human being can love. I wish you peace, happiness, and love. Debra

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