"I will send my messenger ahead of you, who will prepare your way; a voice of one crying in the wilderness, 'Prepare the way for the Lord, make the paths straight for him.' " Mark 1:2-3
We are just a week and a day from Christmas. Our daily readings have shifted from the Passion to the Gospel openings. Everything has shifted towards a new kind of waiting. Not the prayerful, introspective waiting, but the active, engaged waiting. Time to get everything ready.
Some people are wrapped and ready for Christmas day, and others are in a full pitched panic. Some are feeling terrible about having nothing to offer and others are feeling anxious that they will be given nothing. The ads on television are suggesting we have time to buy all sorts of expensive things - and if we do, then everything will be all right. The truth is, Christmas is coming. And the Gospel of Mark's first act is to introduce John who is setting the stage for the one who is to come, who John is "not worthy to stoop down and untie his sandals."
No matter who you are and how prepared
(or unprepared) you might be for this Christmas, God makes a promise to be present, no matter what. None of us can be truly ready for the full reality of love in our life. There is no gift big enough or expensive enough. Yet, a stable was completely adequate. A small gathering of animals, several shepherds and some magnificent stars were all the trimmings that greeted the Savior of the world. And it was plenty adequate. For the love incarnate to come is not something we can control - the love of God in Christ is the gift given for us, to us.
I want to spend today giving thanks for the love of God made manifest in my life. For my husband, our daughters and our families, who ask nothing more than our presence in their lives. For communities of faith around the world, who pray for peace and the in-breaking of God's reign of love. I want to give thanks for the inexhaustible presence of Christ's love incarnate, which, despite my lack is always more than adequate for my need and the needs of the world. May we all take time today to let go of our busyness and embrace the love that is demonstrated in our lives. The incarnate, embodied love of God is coming into our lives. Feeble Bethlehems though we may be, God is promised in our midst, promised to be born in our small stables, promised to be light in the midst of our darkness. May we all give thanks for what is and what is to come.