It is Christmas week. Advent IV always gets a bit of a raw deal in this. Christmas falls sometime in this week and overwhelms it. That is OK. Advent too must give way to the greater glory of the one which follows it, just as John the Baptist observed about the One who followed him.
Christmas Eve remains something of an enigma. I of course “get it” why the church will be fuller than usual that night. The emotion, the family obligation, the powerful draw of the event itself are reason enough. But in a culture which is so fixated upon the latest and the newest of gadgets, news, and information, for a moment we will turn around and look at a story which is ancient, whose details have not changed, and which is a surprise to no one. Yet, we will listen with rapt attention. If the reader skips a line by mistake, everyone will notice. There had better be shepherds and wise men, a star and angels, Mary and Joseph wending their way to Bethlehem, no room in the inn, and a stable. There has to be a stable and a manger.
Is there an inherent wisdom in humanity that we know deep within ourselves that there is more to life than the latest and the greatest? Or is the Spirit of God just blowing a little harder. I don’t know. But I know you will be facing some folks whom you won’t likely see until next Christmas. Give them some credit. If you only go to church once or twice a year, Christmas and Easter would be my choices too. Let them hear the old story. Tell it well. Let the Spirit do His job.