Benediction: Luke 2:22-28

If I were asked what emotion I most associate with Christmas, it would probably be melancholy. Not sadness, but whatever feeling it is that accompanies “Christmas Time is Here” from a Charlie Brown Christmas. That lonely melody, to which a chorus of children sing “Christmas time is here, happiness and cheer, fun for all that children call their favorite time of here,” plays on loop around this time of year. And I’m not sure why, but I wonder if it’s all the waiting that accompanies Christmas — all the hype and the hopes, the movies about a magical day, all the requests in a song like “My Grown-up Christmas Wish.” And then it’s over and how could a day ever live up to that?

And maybe it took 2020 with all it’s disappointments, and promises of more disappointments to convict me that I’ve been looking the wrong way.

In Matthew, we read that Jesus preached the Gospel before he died, and I’ll honestly invite better theologians to correct me on this, but that leads me to believe that the Gospel is not that he died and then rose again.

The Gospel is that he showed up.

Certainly his death and resurrection are our hope, but Angel choirs showed up for his birth. The stars realigned for his birth. Strange kings from faraway lands traveled miles for his birth. A virgin became pregnant for his birth. And I sing songs about this every year and don’t process a word of it because I’m still waiting and failing to see the blessing already given. But it’s a story that deserves to be told over and over again, and if you’re paying attention it’s a story that deserves to be marveled at. As we are days away from Christmas, may you ponder the Good News that should bring great joy to all people.

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