Sunday, December 25, 2016
by Todd Speed
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.
The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.
A clinical psychologist wrote: “I always like to think of the holiday season as a seating area at a crossroads, inviting me to pause and reflect on the path of the past and consider the direction I want to take next. Poised between the end of the current year and the beginning of the New Year, the holidays provide parentheses to the autopilot of daily life and create a liminal period; on the threshold of what has happened, and pregnant with possibility for what is to come.
(This) is a fertile time for contemplating the challenges, growth, disappointments, and achievements of the past year, and transforming those experiences into thoughtful, meaningful intentions for the future…(This can also be) a time of chaos, end-of-year work deadlines, celebratory frenzy, altruistic consumerism, socially sanctioned gluttony, and intoxication. It can be easy to get swept up in the whirlwind of parties, pressure, planning, to-do lists, and the oh-so-human desires of wanting it all, and wanting it all to be perfect. In this whirlwind, it can be hard to stay grounded and mindful of what is important.” (Clémentine Malta-Bey, wisdomawakening.org)
What is most important as we celebrate God’s gift of Christmas? What keeps us grounded as we contemplate any resolutions for the year to come? James Stewart, a prominent English theologian, once mused that “God judges a person not by the distance traveled in the journey of faith, but by the direction facing.” So what direction shall we face in this coming year? Who or what will be our orientation?
Jesus said: I have come as light into the world, so that everyone who believes in me should not remain in darkness…but have the light of life…Believe in the light, so that you may become children of light. (John 12)
On this Christmas Day and in the year to come, let us orient ourselves toward the Light of Life, Jesus Christ, the One who makes available all year those precious gifts of Advent – hope, peace, love, and joy. Let us turn away from selfish desire or lack of love. Let us give up wanting it all or wanting it all to be perfect, and turn toward the One who came so that you and I and all people may have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10)