You might have memories that form a family and/or church story of "here’s what we do" on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day. We want them to happen. We plan for them and know what to expect.
Here’s something unexpected: Christmas is not about the past, but about the future.
As much as we drift toward the fondly remembered past or toward a certain predefined form of Christmas, the original Christmas stories from the Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and even John speak of God doing a new thing, an unexpected thing through unexpected people in an unexpected way. Consider the stories of Mary, Elizabeth, Joseph, or even Zechariah: the unexpected moment needed for new life to come.
Our tradition is meant to be a living one that calls us to be in our ancient stories anew, to trust, amidst life’s unexpected events, personal and historical, that Spirit can move anew to birth the Christ Presence anew. New births of life and love can and do occur, even when the innkeeper of our hearts and minds and imaginations says there is no room.
Will we make room for the unexpected? Joyful or challenging in their appearance, will we trust the GodMystery is with us and able to help us make something new of the unexpected?
We’ve already begun by creating new forms of meeting and worship amidst the pandemic. Let’s make room for the unexpected, even the worrisome kind, and allow for the unexpected ways that God’s Light and Love is coming to be, even amidst the darkness.
I pray for a powerful unexpected arrival of new Light and Life for us all this season.
The Rev. JT Smiedendorf has been a UCC minister since 2001, serving churches in Oregon, Colorado, Wyoming, and Washington. He has a particular passion for reclaiming the earthy, embodied, and experiential aspect of Christian spiritual practice. He and his wife Allison are co-founders of The Sanctuary for Sacred Union, an inter-spiritual initiative, and he is currently earning a postgraduate Certificate in Psychedelic Therapies and Research. Read more about JT here.