Advent

 Attributed to Carel Fabritius

Attributed to Carel Fabritius

I've seen a lot of great baby announcements. Families are becoming increasingly creative, setting the bar high for future parents-to-be. Yet. None of have been able to top this:

"Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.' And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 'Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!'" Luke 2:8-14 

Now that is a baby announcement! In the darkness. On just another day. During business as usual. Something miraculous happens. An announcement is made. It is so glorious that one angel is simply not enough to deliver it. A host an angels fill the sky worshipping God- proclaiming peace on earth. Even though it is in the darkness on just another day during business as usual. 

The shepherds react. Who wouldn't?! How will they find the baby? Not by seeking the fanciest home. Not by asking directions to the path of the rich and famous. Not by finding the most impressive, most expansive, most expensive of anything. A manger. Swaddling clothes. Seems a little anti-climatic doesn't it? Host of angels. Manger. Its a rather unexpected place to find Christ the Lord in the darkness on just another day during business as usual. 

But they do. They find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, just as the angels declared. Incredibly moved, they must tell everyone. This is good news. News of good tidings. News of great joy. News that is desperately needed in the darkness on just another day during business as usual. 

And once they finish declaring it. Once they have told everyone they can think of- anyone who will listen... they return. They return to the darkness, to the day, to the work. 

This Advent season has been filled with the violent darkness of every day- of unarmed killings of black people, of no indictment decisions, the stark divisions and racial warring. We do the work of activism and protest, of writing and speaking, of artistry and teaching, of reading and witnessing, of studying and producing. In the darkness this is just another day, business as usual.  But we know the good news of Christ who saves. And in a few days we celebrate this Christ with intention and purpose. This Christ who made himself low, who came into the world with the sound of angels only to be wrapped in bands of cloth. We will pause. We will celebrate. 

And then we will return to our work. Remembering the good news. Faces still turned toward the heavens. We will keep work toward peace on earth till the Christ makes makes a second grand entrance. 

Merry Christmas, Everyone.