By Rev. Jeanne Randall-Bodman, Pastor
While the speakers in the stores jingle cheerily at us about “the most wonderful time of the year,” in the church we try to hold onto a deeper truth, a more lasting joy: "Christmas is the day that holds all time together.” (Alexander Smith) The day we celebrate the mystery of the incarnation and the ongoing presence of the Christ in the very fabric of the universe. The light that no darkness can contain or extinguish.
This advent, as we wait and prepare for Christmas we are focusing in worship on the angels – the messengers - in the nativity stories found in Matthew and Luke. We are listening for the words of the angels of old to tune our ears for the messengers among us today. Listening to the songs of response that Zechariah and Mary make, and watching the actions Joseph and the shepherds take in response—watching how each recipient of an angelic pronouncement becomes a messenger in their own right. We listen and watch not merely to admire their words and actions, but also to learn how to speak and act ourselves in response to the messages of the angels in our midst now.
The stories of Jesus’ birth announce the coming of a true King of the Jews (Matthew), a real Son of God (Luke) who will bring peace not through victory and conquest, as the Roman “son of God” Caesar does, but through justice.
And so through advent we wait, not just for God’s action in the world, but for God’s Wisdom to be born in us and show us the way to go, to make us messengers of peace through justice in a weary world.
One way to proclaim peace as we shop and give gifts and celebrate, might be to listen to the messengers telling us about working conditions of people around the world, and about the climate impact of over consumption. We can choose to shop and give intentionally and thoughtfully, in a morally conscious way. Our Consumer choices matter. With our purchases, we cast a vote for a more just world in which people are paid a living wage, children get to be children, animals don’t suffer, and environmental impact is reduced. You can find a list of lower-impact Christmas ideas to spark your imagination on the News and Events page of the Kairos-Milwaukie UCC webpage.
Wishing you a blessed advent, a heartfelt Christmas, and a hope-filled New Year.