Home > Advent Blog 2021
The Work of Christmas
December 15, 2021
Psalm 85:8-13 | Isaiah 45:5-8(9-17)18-25 | Luke 7:9-23
I am the Lord, and there is no other; there is no God but Me.
Isaiah 45: 5
These words are a continuing refrain in the 45th chapter of Isaiah. It is repeated in an almost rhythmic fashion like the chorus of a song or the refrain in a poem. The repetition of these words reinforces their importance as a bedrock of God’s revelation of Himself to his people. It calls us to contemplate this foundational tenet of our faith: there is one God! there is no other! and this God loves us!
As we approach these final weeks of Advent culminating in the celebration of the birth of Jesus, the incarnation of God in our form and likeness, we find ourselves steeped in the mystery of God’s inscrutable love for us. It is unfathomable that the God who created the heavens and the earth would become one like us in every way but sin. “I made the earth, and created man on it. It was My hands that stretched out the heavens and I commanded all their hosts.” Isaiah 45:12
While this is a season of celebration and cheer; Christmas lights, social gatherings, gifts, food, wine and spirits, these outward displays of happiness and joy are rooted in the mystery of God’s love for us. This love is mirrored in every card we send, every gift we wrap, every meal we share and also in every smile, courtesy and kind word extended to others. Any action not rooted in this love is similar to “Those who carry their wooden idols, and pray to a god who cannot save, have no knowledge. (Isaiah 45: 20)
I find myself as the year comes to a close, the days shorten and nature goes into hibernation feeling a strong connection to the spiritual realm. My best analogy is how the naked beauty of trees is revealed when their leaves fall. When trees lose their leaves we are able to see the beautiful architecture of the their branches. Their branches form a delicate lattice work against the winter sky which is hidden by their leaves during the spring/summer season. Similarly, the starkness of the winter months unveils for me God’s hidden presence in our midst. “Yes, You are a God who hides Himself, God of Israel, Savior. (Isaiah 45: 15)
“When the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her and said, “Don’t cry.”
Luke 7: 13
This quote from the Gospel of Luke has a particular resonance for me today! Without going into details, I recently received news which has broken my heart about the health of a loved one. I read these words and heard Jesus saying to me “Don’t cry.” It is amazing how God speaks to us directly and meets our every need through His word!
I would like to conclude my reflections with this poem by Howard Thurman, mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Work of Christmas
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers,
To make music in the heart.
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