One of the beautiful Christmas carols is “O Little Town of Bethlehem.” One of the lines reminds us that Advent and Christmas are not just times of remembering and celebrating a long-ago event, but are times that bring to our present lives—all that we are and all that we do—the presence of Christ to shape us and inspire us. It says, “O Holy Child of Bethlehem…be born in us today….O come to us, abide in us, our Lord Emmanuel.” Emmanuel—one of the names of Jesus—means “God with us.”
In my “fireside chat” message delivered via YouTube from my living room on the weekend of the ice storm, I told about an experience that Sue Monk Kidd recounts in her book When the Heart Waits. She was visiting a monastery about two before Christmas. As she passed a monk walking outside, she greeted him with, “Merry Christmas.” The monk’s response caught her off guard a bit. “May Christ be born in you,” he replied. It was not what she expected. She expected the usual “Merry Christmas” in reply.
His words seemed strange and peculiar to her at the time. What did he mean, “May Christ be born in you?” At the time she was unsure of what he meant, but years later, after growing and maturing in the faith, she felt the impact of his words. She discovered that Advent is a time of spiritual preparation. It is also a time of transformation. It’s “discovering our soul and letting Christ be born from the waiting heart.” (San Francisco: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1990, pp. 181-182)
I look forward to worshipping with you on Sunday and then again in our Christmas Eve services on Tuesday.
May Christ be born in you.
Grace and Peace,