I love the Christmas season. Ann Weems captures my feelings for this time of year in her poem, O Lord, You Were Born.
Each year about this time I try to be sophisticated
and pretend I understand the bored expressions
relating to the “Christmas spirit.”
I nod when they say “Put the Christ back in Christmas.”
I say yes, yes when they shout “Commercial” and
“Hectic, hectic, hectic.”
After all, I’m getting older,
and I’ve heard it said, “Christmas is for children.”
But somehow a fa-la-la keeps creeping out.
So I’ll say it:
I love Christmas tinsel
and angel voices that come from the beds upstairs.
And I say three cheers for Santa Claus
and the Salvation Army bucket
and all the wrappings and festivities
and special warm feelings.
I say it is good,
So hooray for Christmas trees
and the good old church pageant.
Hooray for shepherd boys who forget their lines
and Wise Men whose beards fall off
and a Mary who giggles.
O Lord, you were born!
O Lord, you were born!
And that breaks in upon my ordered life like bugles blaring,
And I sing, “Hark, the Herald Angels”
In the most unlikely places.
You were born and I will celebrate!
I rejoice for the carnival of Christmas!
I clap for the pajama-clad cherubs
And the Christmas cards jammed in the mail slot.
I o-o-oh for the turkey
And a-a-ah for the Christmas pudding.
And thank God for the alleluias I see in the faces of people
I don’t know and yet know very well.
O Lord, there aren’t enough choirboys to sing what I feel.
There aren’t enough trumpets to blow.
O Lord, I want bells to peal!
I want to dance in the streets of Bethlehem!
I want to sing with the heavenly host!
For unto us a son was given
And he was called God with us!
For those of us who believe,
The whole world is decorated with love!
– From Reaching for Rainbows: Resources for Creative Worship by Ann Weems
Pastors, church leaders and volunteers give so much of themselves to help us experience those decorations of love. Balancing family times and celebrations with the effort of creating sanctuaries, services, and events that help us renew the joy of God’s wondrous gift can cause pressure and stress. I want to say to all of you pastors, church leaders, and volunteers – thank you. Thank you for the thought and work that you are doing to help us relive and re-celebrate the story of Jesus’ birth. Thank you for all your efforts: the special decorations, the special music, the sermons, liturgies, and prayers, all the ways you help us capture the spirit of the season. And I thank God for the ways God decorates this season with love.
I pray that as you experience Advent and Christmas, you experience the love of God that came and dwelt among us – a gift wrapped as a baby, a gift to be received again and again. O Lord, you were born and we are blessed!
Have a wonderful Advent and Christmas.