I wrote this reflection for the December edition of the Luther Seminary newsletter. With a few changes, I thought I’d share it here.
It’s been a season of waiting, watching, hoping. And then, in just a few days, the Christ Child will come. There will be feasts and gifts, trumpets and cymbals, visits and noise. The expectation of advent will culminate in the celebration of Christmas–and as quickly as it came, it will be over.
If you’re anything like me, as you’re picking up the tinsel and wrapping paper, you’ll find yourself wondering, “Was that all?”
This time of year isn’t always easy. For some, it’s as much a time of grief as it is joy. That’s why I try to remember that the gift of Christmas isn’t really in its splendor but its subversiveness. The King of Kings, Emmanuel–God with Us–is a baby born in a barn and announced to shepherds. This isn’t a King who requires gleaming palaces and spectacular decor to feel at home, but who enters the gritty brokenness of real life.
That’s a different kind of hope from what we might be used to this time of year, but it’s a hope that lingers after the fanfare dies down–a hope rooted in the grace of a God who loves us enough to join us where we are.
May this hope sustain you throughout this season and always!