Over the last few days I thought a lot about my Nazareths; the people, places, and situations that I had no right to judge, question, or label but I did, and sometimes still do. I’ve wondered about the ways I’ve belittled, demeaned, and rejected the Nazareths in my life. I am sure I lost more by their absence from my life than they would have gained by my presence in theirs. And I wonder how many times I have missed the Messiah’s presence because I refused to look toward Nazareth.
Regardless of what the last year has been for us and whether we consider the changes it brought to be for better or for worse it is deeply rooted in the Christmas story.
I am not talking about the then and there Christmas story, the one that starts out “In those days” and takes place “in that region.” I am talking about the here and now Christmas story, the one that is taking place in these days and in this region. After all, that’s really the only Christmas story that matters.
Creator of the Stars of Night is an Advent chant with words from the 9th century. The music, Conditor lame siderum, is plainsong chant, mode 4. This rendition is by two choir members of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church, Uvalde. Creator of the stars of night, your people’s everlasting light, O Christ, Redeemer of us all, we pray you…
The Christmas Proclamation as it is sometimes called comes from the Roman Martyrology. It is usually read on Christmas Eve before the Midnight Mass. The proclamation sets the birth of Jesus in relationship to events of the Old Testament as well as the Greek and Roman worlds. It is a way of dating Jesus’ birth…
Maybe the greatest barrier to seeing the divine presence among us is that we already have an idea or image of who that one is or should be and what that one should look like and do. In other words, we think we know and we stick with what we think we know. We can’t see the one because he or she does not meet our expectations or fit our categories of who he or she can be. Sometimes, we don’t see the one among us because he or she stands outside the box of our beliefs. And more often than not we see and hear in such a way that it only confirms what we already believe.
In what ways are you living as a displaced person? What parts of your life feel uprooted and disconnected? What is your displacement?
“Comfort, O comfort my people,” are God’s words to displaced people. Isaiah first spoke those words to people exiled in Babylon, people whose lives had been uprooted. Those same words come to the displaced people of God today. In some way the prophetic word is always directed to displaced people. And we long to hear those words of comfort. We want to find our place. More than anything displaced people want to be a placed people.
“O Wisdom, you come forth from the mouth of the Most High. You fill the universe and hold all things together in a strong yet gentle manner. O come to teach us the way of truth.”
“It is not true that creation and the human family are doomed to destruction and loss— This is true: For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. It is not true that we must accept inhumanity and discrimination,…