nativity

Rembrandt’s Nativity

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.” (Luke 2:11)

 

The powerful silence of Christmas morning says “Peace, I am here.” I smile and rest in that knowledge. Somehow, the world rests as well. Even as the day comes alive, people are kinder, quieter with the knowledge that today something is different. I feel it. Maybe because I believe it. I believe that peace begins with me. I believe angels sing and stars dance. I believe in Wise Men and a virgin birth. I believe Jesus is the coming of God to earth. Today is Christmas and I welcome it and I reread the story:

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.” (Matthew 1:18-25)

“Christmas is saying ‘yes’ to something beyond all emotions and feelings. Christmas is saying “yes” to a hope based on God’s initiative, which has nothing to do with what I think or feel. Christmas is believing that the salvation of the world is God’s work and not mine. Things will never look just right or feel just right. If they did, someone would be lying…But it is into this broken world that a child is born who is called Son of the Most High, Prince of Peace, Savior.”(Henri J.M. Nouwen, The Road to Daybreak)

Savior who has been born to us,

              Draw us to you this day and all days! Thank you for coming, walking with me, standing by my side, and returning for me one day. Amen

And just in case you want to hear again the beautiful song performed at Peachtree Road United Methodist Church, here is my favorite Advent song for you.

Glenn Rudolph’s ‘The Dream Isaiah Saw‘ was commissioned by the Bach Choir of Pittsburg in memory of the victims of the attacks on American targets September 11th, 2001 and refers to the prophet Isaiah’s vision (Isaiah 2:1-5) of God’s creation restored to peace and harmony through the word of the Lord from Jerusalem . Rudolph’s text is from a poem written in 1994 by Thomas H. Troeger which presents a panoramic view of a Messianic Kingdom in which:

Peace will pervade more than forest and field:
God will transfigure the Violence concealed
deep in the heart and in systems of gain,
ripe for the judgement the Lord will ordain.

Rudolph finished composing the work on September 30th 2001. Although it’s often sung as an Advent or Christmas song I’ve chosen to post it here as it was originally intended – a plea for peace and a song of remembrance. It’s sung here by the Georgia Boy Choir.

Video Source: The Georgia Boy Choir – The Dream Isaiah Saw – YouTube Uploaded by GeorgiaBoyChoir on Dec 28, 2010

Lyrics: The Dream Isaiah Saw

Lions and oxen will sleep in the hay,
leopards will join with the lambs as they play,
wolves will be pastured with cows in the glade,
blood will not darken the earth that God made.

Little child whose bed is straw,
take new lodgings in my heart.
Bring the dream Isaiah saw:
life redeemed from fang and claw.

Peace will pervade more than forest and field:
God will transfigure the Violence concealed
deep in the heart and in systems of gain,
ripe for the judgement the Lord will ordain.

Little child whose bed is straw,
take new lodgings in my heart.
Bring the dream Isaiah saw:
justice purifying law.

Nature reordered to match God’s intent,
nations obeying the call to repent,
all of creation completely restored,
filled with the knowledge and love of the Lord.

 

 

                 

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