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I Won’t Tell You

December 2, 2015

It began this past weekend. It’s one of The Seasons of The Gospel, and we call it Advent. It’s the time Christ’s Holy Church prepares for Christmas.

Here’s what I wrote about two weeks ago to the congregation I serve, and how I began my message this past weekend —

I won’t tell you.

I won’t tell you the number of times I’ve begun this in the last couple of days. I won’t tell you any of the false starts, dead ends, and empty middles that have been deleted. I won’t tell you how many times I’ve given up and moved on to an easier task, only to return to my notes and a blank screen.

Usually I try to be encouraging, inviting, even inspiring. But this time it’s different. Because this time, the very time we live in is itself different. And we dare not pretend otherwise.

The news has been horrible. Globally, locally, personally, horrible. It’s been politically, medically, and sometimes spiritually horrible. You know the stories and the scenes and the situations as well as I do.

I won’t tell you it’s okay when it’s not. I respect you too much for that. I care about you too much to do that.

There’s a book title I’ll never use, because I’ll never write that book. I couldn’t stand to. But lately it seems painfully accurate in so many respects: He Won the War, But We’re Losing the Battle.

 And yet.

And yet Advent and Christmas are upon us. Time to again hear the familiar words of the Old Testament prophets anticipating and longing for Messiah. We’ll revisit The Good News of The Birth of Christ in The New Testament. We’ll sing our seasonal songs that say so much. We’ll relish favorite Christmas memories and make new ones.

In the words of our traditional liturgy, we’ll be invited to journey to the manger where the Baby of Bethlehem can be found. Perhaps, paradoxically, once again for the first time.

And as Christian poet Ann Weems reminds us, cute little Baby Jesus grew up. And worked miracles and taught and loved and was loved. And wept. And was killed. And was resurrected. And ascended. And will return.

But not yet.

When He was here the first time, Christ Jesus said this: “In the world you will have tribulation.” He wasn’t kidding.

But the rest of that verse, John 16:33, frames it for us: “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” He wasn’t kidding about any of that. And therein lies our hope.

We need the Christ of Christmas.

A fun song from a musical, which I watched from behind my trumpet in the orchestra pit when I was in school, says that “We need a little Christmas.” But I believe that now, more than ever, we need the Christ of Christmas.

You and I and the people around us and the world for whom He died, we all need The Christ of Christmas.

Catch the infectious joy of this Season of The Gospel in any of its forms. Do some friends a favor and bring them along with you.




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