Advent has been a time of watching and waiting as we move slowly toward Christmas. During this season many wait for comfort. Our communities look for hope. Our world longs for peace. We look for the appearance of light, for the presence and glory of God.
At a time and in a place that the world did not expect, the glory of God appeared in the flesh of an infant child, God incarnate. As Mary and Joseph held the baby Jesus, there must have been many questions that filled their hearts and minds. Perhaps they wondered how they all would survive in difficult circumstances. Perhaps they marveled at how this child could bring the fulfillment of some of God’s greatest promises. Promises like:
- Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem that her warfare is ended. – Is. 40
- Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’- Is. 58
- For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. – Is. 9
Christmas is about celebrating the fulfillment of God’s ancient promises in the infant child Jesus, the Word incarnate. It is a celebration of God becoming flesh to live among us then - and now. At Christmas we will sing the prayer, “O holy child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray; cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.”
As you again celebrate the birth of Jesus, may you look for the ways Jesus is born and lives among us today – lives in you. May the incarnate Word bring comfort, healing, and peace in your heart, in your home, and in our world.
Wishing you and yours a blessed Christmas, filled with the light and love of Jesus Christ.
+Bishop Dee Pederson