December 14, 2011 Congregational Meeting
Luke 1: 35-37 The angel said to her ‘the Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called the Son of God. And now, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month for her who was said to be barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.
Last weekend, our Godson, Elijah, and his parents came to town. We scheduled a visit last weekend so that we could take little three year old Elijah to Starry Starry Nights at Shelby Farms. We kept talking to Elijah about Christmas trees and Santa Clause and reindeer to get him excited for the light show.
We prayed for clear skies and crisp Christmas air. We imagined little Elijah squealing with delight at the bright candy canes five times his size and the intricate choo choo train that might remind him of that magical story about the Polar Express.
When Friday night finally came, we kept building up the hype of the show: Santa Clause! Christmas Trees! Reindeer! Giant candy Canes! Polar Express! And yet, as we drove through the wonder of Starry Starry Nights, Elijah got excited about one thing, and one thing only: the giant tyrannosaurus rex with a red mouth and huge claws!
I started to blurt out ‘but that’s not Christmasy!’ and then I realized that Elijah was teaching us all something about the spirit of the season.
He loves dinosaurs right now. I imagine he loves them because they represent something from long ago, something we do not fully understand. Dinosaurs represent this exciting, powerful force that came before us, and it reminds us that there are mysteries beyond our reach that stir our imagination and hope.
We were all wrong that night. Christmas isn’t about Santa or trees or reindeer or candy canes and choo choo trains.
Instead, Christmas is about the wildest and most unpredictable events you can imagine. A virgin who is pregnant, her old, barren, cousin who is with child, stars that guide wise men across the earth, angels appearing in dreams, and the ultimate truth of Christmas: that nothing is impossible with God.
Through the eyes of our godson, Elijah, I realized how silly it was for us to build hype around predictable images of the Polar Express or the giant candy canes.
Elijah reminded us all that Christmas is about something long ago, something we do not fully understand. Christmas is about this exciting, powerful force that came before us, and Christmas Reminds us that there are mysteries beyond our reach that stir our hope, and our faith.
Pray with me: God of long ago and a million tomorrows, remind us of Your mysterious force of goodness and grace with every twinkling light and every tyrannosaurus rex. Renew our faith this Advent, give us the eyes of Elijah to see your wonder in the most unpredictable places. Amen.