Friday, December 4, 2009
Go therefore to the main roads and invite to the wedding feast as many as you find. Matthew 22:9
A most common question I find these days is, " so, are you ready for Christmas?" Strangers and friends alike ask one another. Sometimes it feels like a competition. Sometimes it feels like a plea. "Please God, let there be someone less organized than I am." And sometimes, it is just a question of kind interest and compassion, knowing that it is hard for many to be ready for Christmas. For some there is not enough time, others not enough money for their needs, and yet others, it is loss or change that makes getting ready for Christmas rather difficult. I am one of those people who tries to get organize but really doesn't like getting too far ahead - I just can't keep track for too long. I know that getting my heart ready for Christmas is the hardest part. The swirl of ancient memories and expectations, along with the limits of time and capacity, make it hard not to have a mix of emotions as we face Christmas. And in a new community, while having returned to the home of my youth, there makes for even more confusion and conundrums. How to celebrate this year?
Jesus tells the parable of a wedding feast where everything is prepared and the guests don't come, so he sends his servants out to collect guests only to find one who won't dress for the occasion. This one he throws out and says this is the kingdom of God. Well, being someone who never feel dressed correctly, never feels prepared completely, never quite gets the overindulgence at weddings and other galas, this parable makes me cringe. Especially before Christmas. And yet today, it hits me that it is not about clothing but about respect. In our Native communities respect has the highest honor, rather than wealth and fame. We place respect above all else. And Jesus tells us that the kingdom of heaven is about honoring and respecting the Creator, the one who lay out the banquets, big and small, and invites us all to participate. Respect really means giving another one's heart, putting their needs over mine today. It seems to mean that being ready for Christmas means being prepared to respect the incredible gifts that are the people in my life, and honoring the Creator with humility. For God's kingdom is not about the clothes but about giving one's heart to God for the sake of others.
Today, I want to prepare for Christmas by respecting others and giving them my heart. I want to make the coming days a time of honoring the people around me. I invite us to be ready for Christ's coming into the world by offering honor and respect to those around us.