Saturday, December 24, 2005

THE ADVENT CHRONICLES


CHRISTMAS EVE REFLECTION

I have made a covenant with my chosen one; I have sworn an oath to David my servant: I will establish your line for ever, and preserve your throne for all generations. (Ps. 89:3-4)

Let ' s jump for a moment on this day before Christmas to its counterpart in the Christian liturgical year...the Feast of the Ascension, traditionally celebrated on the fortieth day after Easter. As on Christmas we give praise to the God who comes straight down from heaven in the person of Jesus, on Ascension Day we celebrate his going straight up, taking our own human and frail, but resurrected, flesh with him, in order to be crowned the Sovereign of all sovereigns.

The Ascension, that almost-forgotten feast of western Christianity, has its foundation in Christmas-the two go hand-in-hand, and lie at the heart of our bond in Christ. To borrow a metaphor from B.B. King, "love comes to town on Christmas, " and on Ascension Day we will take Love' s train to the Heavenly Places.

Then, you and I and all humanity, are invited to share in the sovereignty of Jesus Christ, in whom we are united in baptism. You and I are joined in Christ in the mysterious union of the Holy Trinity itself! No wonder that in the Eastern church children, and the newly baptized, and newly wedded couples, are crowned with garlands of flowers, symbolizing the royalty we have in the God who came among us and then carries us up to reign with him on the throne of God.

We Americans, sadly, in our squeamishness at royalty, abandoned all of that. What a pathetic loss! So on this day of preparation and waiting and busy-ness, when we meditate on these verses from Psalm 89, and listen to God's words establishing the royal line of David, know that ultimately, God has you in mind. You, with all your pain and preoccupations, all your worries and hidden fears, God is coming to your house tonight to invite you to a new life of peace, courage, freedom, and holiness. God will come to your house, the house of your soul and body, restoring its dignity and holiness, and then invite you to God's house.

God comes down that we may rise, lifted by him to the skies;
Christ is born for us that we born again in him may be.
(Christopher Wordsworth 1807-1885)
Hymn 88, Hymnal 1982 (Church Publishing)

-exerpt from a publication by the Higher Education Ministries Arena.
used with permission

5 comments:

Michael said...

Too bad, Jonathan. It seems we've traded some pretty rich traditions for newer ones such as fighting over what to call an evergreen tree in December and whether "happy holiday" can be as rich and meaningful as "Merry Christmas". Yes, I think these are the newest traditions.

Thank you for your grand reminder of what is truly important. Exceptional post!

St.Phransus said...

merry chistmoliday!!! :)

callieischatty said...

I am Jewish and let me clear something up for you guys.
No one minds being told Merry Christmas.
We don't take any offense at all.
And call your Christmas tree what you like, its not an issue.
Not sure where this tempest in a teapot started but it wasn't with the Jewish community.
We have many more serious concerns than being wished Merry Christmas!
And while we are on the subject, Happy Chanuka to you~! :>}

callieischatty said...

I answered you on my blog.
I wondered if you could answer me, do many Christians agree with the support given for Hamas and Hizbollah on this pomomusings blog?

Is this common amoung Methodists as well as Presbytarians?

We in the Jewish community wonder how Christians can support groups dedicated to violence and genocide like the two I mentioned.

Is this part of mainstream Christianity or just fringe groups?

postmodernegro said...

J,

Your reflections on this time of the Christian year have been refreshing and inspiring for me. I have been doing alot of reading around this subject. The tradition I became a Christian in ignored or completely dismissed this aspect of the Christian tradition.

Thanks,

Ant