Tag Archives: Christmas

it begins with a baby God

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I remember well sitting on the long and curved wooden benches that creak with every move at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville several years ago. I was frantically scribbling lyrics of a song, the chorus ringing in my ears and head and heart for weeks to come. The phrases I remembered out of order I now know, of course, were these:

It’s true, kingdoms and crowns
a God who comes down to find us
and angels sing through the night
Hallelujah.
It’s true.

I’ve later memorized the lyrics from the album which later was released by Sara Groves. But I notice every Year that the album has become a part of my Christmas rhythm.

A few days ago, on a  couple-hour drive back from training, I found myself with blurry vision singing loud and raspy with teary eyes and a heavy heart. Don’t act like you’ve never done it. A lyric from the song I didn’t scribble down that night has come to bear much weight for me and all I find myself working on and with and through toward God’s kingdom come on earth as in heaven.

Heard it told, you think it’s odd
The whole thing fraught with complication
The play begins with a baby God
And all his blessed implications

I find myself in board meetings and counseling sessions, in conference rooms and churches, in arguments and gripe sessions, at parties and dinners,  I find myself noticing over and over again in multiple contexts that in following suit with the prayers we are bold to pray, Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are more often than not called to play the game by wholly other, ridiculous rules.

Let’s address systemic sin, injustice, oppression, blindness and heartbrokenness with a baby God.
Let’s address self-centered, self-righteous, power-mongering and king-complexes with humility.
Let’s address loneliness, addiction, anger, despondency and bitterness with unconditional acceptance.
Let’s address greed, materialism, xenophobia, racism and ignorance with generosity, hospitality and forgiveness.

It’s makes no sense.
It feels all wrong.
It sounds as good a plan as the whole story beginning with a baby God.
And yet, when we hold our breath and close our eyes and take our steps
in wholly other and wholly odd directions with wholly other rules
kingdom comes, just like it crashed in
when the play boldly began with a baby God.

It’s true.

djordan
Pine Tree

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when christmas is over, the work begins

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When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.

“The Work of Christmas”
Howard Thurman

 

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on advent | before we sing the song of Christmas

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My house is actually clean because I threw a party here a week ago.
The Christmas tree has stopped shorting out with the help of an extra extension cord.
All the gifts are in and waiting to be wrapped.
Money is in the bank, and a job waits for me when I return from the holidays.
Evenings and meals with candlelight and laughter are planned nightly for the next week.
There is plenty to be joyful for in the days approaching Christmas for me.

But couples wrestle with miscarriage.
Clients wrestle with families falling apart.
Participants wrestle with utilities being shut off.
Loved ones wrestle with pressing in depression and hopelessness.
Men wrestle with finding a bridge under which to put a pillow for the night.
Strangers wrestle with missing six-year-olds for Christmas morning.
Friends wrestle with the murdered son, husband, wife, daughter.
There is plenty to be broken-hearted for in the days approaching Christmas for me and others.

Enter the truth of advent.

Beyond flashy Christmas programs and shiny Christmas cards
taken twenty times until we liked the way our chins looked,
Beyond rhetoric over guns and entitlement and taxes and “wars on Christmas,”
sits a spinning world that while some goes well,
much goes not well.

Enter the truth of advent.

Skipped for Christmas morning by many churches and Christians
following in line behind consumers and the mighty dollar,
Advent waits in the dark nights before Christmas morning
telling the truth
allowing the tears
holding out hope
that while the world goes not well
the kingdom comes.

And when advent is allowed to enter
and linger under candlelight,
the words of the old hymn make a little more sense,
and make Christmas morning a little more important,
because we were allowed to wait for Christmas.

O ye beneath life’s crushing load,
Whose forms are bending low,
Who toil along the climbing way
With painful steps and slow;
Look now, for glad and golden hours
Come swiftly on the wing;
Oh rest beside the weary road
And hear the angels sing.

For lo! the days are hastening on,
By prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold,
When the new heaven and earth shall own
The Prince of Peace, their King,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing.

Until the new heaven and earth own their King,
May we tell ourselves the truth of Advent
before we sing the song of Christmas.

Amen.

djordan
Pine Tree

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