From the Desktop of the Pastor – Week of the 4th Sunday of Advent

Hi everyone,

We are so close to Christmas, I can taste it. Like literally taste it as my wife has been baking some Christmas goodies and we had a lot of festive treats at our choir’s sing-a-long event last night. And among all these Christmas-related events are of course the Christmas concerts at my kids’ schools.

Yup, I said schools, as in plural. By sheer luck my kids go to two different schools, which means two different Christmas concerts, two nights to block out of my busy Christmas schedule, two times I have to deal with crazy parents trying to get the best spot and showcasing to the world how much they love their own kid because their kid is always the spotlight.

If I sound cynical, it’s because I perhaps am. For some reason I have little patience for parents who talk only about their kid, their kid’s accomplishments, and stand up during their kid’s performance to get a better view, to take pictures, and my personal pet peeve, to just wave. I’m pretty sure your kid can see you, no need to flail around like a maniac to get their attention.

I get that they are proud. I get that they want to see their kid do well. And I get that they love their kid. But do they get that there people behind them that feel the same way about their own kid? And might want to see more than the back of your head and waving hand? It’s like your kid gets on stage and suddenly all manners, consideration, and sitting down go out the window.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure I’m just being cynical. So, instead of ‘bah humbugging’ the moment, let’s look at next week’s readings. They are:
Isaiah 7:10-16
Psalm 80:1-7, 17-19
Romans 1:1-7
Matthew 1:18-25

What do these readings have to do with kid’s Christmas concerts? At this point, I think the readings have to do with community and relationship (this could be because I see most scripture readings about that). I see people being connected not just by knowing each other, but by sharing lineage, culture, and tradition. I see people being connected through common backgrounds, experience, and situations. I see people seeing each other as people because they’ve been reminded that… well… they’re actually people.

Often these days we see others as less than people. They’re nuisances, inconveniences, or bothers. They’re in the way, blocking us, or holding us back. They are but shadows compared to what we want done, where we want to go, and what we want to be. We sometimes forget that the world is full of people just like us, people who live, laugh, and love. People who hurt, hunger, and have needs. People who really are just like us, experience like us, fear like us, heal like us.

This is why I believe Jesus came to be among us. To show us all our commonalities so we might put aside difference and see how we are all just human. And we as just humans can learn to work together to make the world better for us humans, full of community and relationship, diversity and unity, and people who can just enjoy their Christmas concerts (and concerts of varying other themes). We are all connected in that we all came into the world in the same way through our parents, and so we can learn to live with each other knowing that we are connected and not all that different from each other.

May the rest of this Advent season lead you into the love that Christ brings, connecting us all as children of God, worthy of God’s grace, welcomed into God’s community and kingdom. Thanks be to God.

Have a great week, everyone!

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