Friday, December 17, 2010

Into Your Home

December 18, 2010
Saturday of the Third Week of Advent

Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will raise up a righteous shoot to David; As king he shall reign and govern wisely, he shall do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah shall be saved, Israel shall dwell in security. This is the name they give him: “The LORD our justice.” Jeremiah 23:5-6

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:20-21

Now burn, new born to the world,
Double-natured name,
The heaven-flung, heart-fleshed, maiden-furled
Mid-numbered He in three of the thunder-throne!
Not a dooms-day dazzle in his coming nor dark as he came;
Kind, but royally reclaiming his own;
A released shower, let flash to the shire, not a Lightning of fire hard-hurled.
-- Gerard Manley Hopkins, The Wreck of the Deutschland

The weeks of Advent are now coming to their natural, cyclical conclusion as we get ready to transition into what is now only hours and days away…the re-birth of this God-son into the world.

However, allow me to interrupt these scriptures with a mixed metaphor encountered in the Safeway parking lot. Tonight, I drove past a car sporting the following on its rear bumper: “God is too big for any one religion.” The owner-driver of that vehicle is trying to do exactly what the prophets have tried to do for us throughout this season of preparation and expectation. He is using familiar concepts to describe God and God’s relationship with us. The bumper-sticker stickler uses finite concepts of space to get across the message about the importance of God.

However, God will have nothing of that sort of language. Instead of using terms that denote size and importance, God turns to action and shows us exactly how big and important He really is. To get the point across, God comes back into the world as a tiny, cold, crying, and little powerless Jewish boy in a dirty stable in the middle of nowhere. There is nothing magnificent about the way God comes into the world. Nor is there anything regal about the way He departs.

The message of God, in communion and communication with Mary and Joseph leads this Jewish carpenter-father into action. That message is directed to us as well.

“Anthony, son of Salvatore, do not be afraid to take Jesus into your life.”

“Kat, daughter of Mimi, do not be afraid to take Jesus into your life.”

Fill in your name. The angel of the Lord is bringing that same message to you this season and this week. And the rest of us are included as well.

Joseph and Mary accepted the child as their own. Are you ready to accept this child-God as your own? Are you ready to welcome the new born into your home?

Joseph’s adoption of the child models God’s request of us. God seeks our willing adoption of the child. God was in communion and communication with Mary and Joseph before the rest of us. Now, He is ready to be in communion and communication with us. Are you ready for some saving?