“Christmas is a’coming and the goose is getting fat
Please put a penny in the old man’s hat”
Children chanting this old nursery rhyme capture the hardiness of human hope. It is a picture of kingdom life – feast and plenty, kindness and inclusivity. We are to be generous as God has been generous with us. These youthful words distill the essence of Christian life – celebration of God’s provision for us and the call to provide for others.
And it is almost here. The children are tense with excitement. The preparations are almost complete. The anticipation of Advent is about to give way to the realities of celebration. We will mark the ending of Advent on Sunday morning and open our wide hearts as we assemble on Christmas Eve to greet the Lord at his coming in the darkness of the night. It will happen as it has happened every night for two thousand years across the world. God is coming into our lives again.
But as we pause in these few days before our encounter with the mystery of God, it is well to ask whom we are expecting. Who is the God of the night, of the stars, and of the sea? Adam and Eve walked with God in a garden, Moses discovered God in a burning bush, Elijah found God in the quiet after the storm, Isaiah in the midst of the glory of the Temple in Jerusalem, John the Baptist sought him in wilderness, and we seek God in a world fragmented by loneliness.
Let us turn our hearts towards the God who comes. Keep the faith. “Tomorrow the wickedness of the earth will be destroyed, and the savior of the world will rule over us.” Welcome the Savior one more time.
The Rev. Susan N. Eaves