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Notes from the Pastor – Advent

And she gave birth to her firstborn son

and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger,

because there was no room for them in the inn.

Luke 2:7

It is Advent.  Christmas is coming.  The “shopping days to Christmas” countdown has begun.  The “to-do” list never ends.  There are gifts to buy and wrap, cookies to bake, parties to attend, and Christmas greetings to send electronically or via snail mail.  Add all this to an already tight schedule and there is no room for anything else.

There was no room for them in the inn…. The folks at the inn didn’t know what they missed. No angel songs, no awestruck shepherds, no newborn king.  For them, it was just another night.  If only they had let go of just a little of their fullness, if only they had made a little space, they too could have heard the songs of angels, caught the excitement of breathless shepherds and rejoiced at the birth of the miraculous child.  If only they had made room, they too could have come to know the presence of God in a special way.

During this busy season it may seem as if there is no room to pack anything else in our busy schedules.  The danger is that we may rush through the holiday season in a frenzy of activity and, like the folks at the inn, completely miss the spirit of Christmas.  Poet Ann Weems reminds us:

In each heart lies a Bethlehem,

an inn where we must ultimately answer

whether there is room or not.

When we are Bethlehem-bound

we experience our own advent in his.

When we are Bethlehem-bound

we can no longer look the other way

conveniently not seeing stars

not hearing angel voices.

We can no longer excuse ourselves by busily

tending our sheep or our kingdoms.

This Advent let’s go to Bethlehem

and see this thing that the Lord has made known to us.

In the midst of shopping sprees

let’s ponder in our hearts the Gift of Gifts.

Through the tinsel

let’s look for the gold of the Christmas Star.

In the excitement and confusion, in the merry chaos,

let’s listen for the brush of angels’ wings.

This Advent, lets go to Bethlehem

and find our kneeling places.

In the merry bustle that is so much of part of this season take care to look and listen for the presence of the Christ Child.  Have a blessed Advent and a joyous Christmas!

Pastor Margrethe


From Kneeling in Bethlehem: Poetry for Advent and Christmas. © 1993 Ann Barr Weems.  Used by permission of Westminster John Knox Press. All rights reserved.

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