The readings this week are all over the place, especially our Gospel readings. We hear about the genealogy of Jesus, the birth of Jesus, the prediction and conception of John the Baptist, then back to the Annunciation and final, on Friday, Mary’s visit to Elizabeth. Yes, the readings are all over the place.
Still, they are a good reminder about what we will gather next week to celebrate – God in the flesh. The miracle of the incarnation. Not unlike all of us, scattering from store to store, room to room, shopping and wrapping, dusting and decorating, this time of year is filled with a story here, a story there, a time-honored tradition of where the tree goes and who puts the star on top, and then a pause to reflect on why we do what we do.
The miracle, the wonder, the amazing bits and pieces of the story remain. There is great beauty in the truth of the story. God skips nothing: not the frantic eruption of birth or the numbness of death – through Jesus, God enters fully into humanity, even as He invites us to share in His divinity.
When I was a child, we would go as a family to the Knoxville Nativity Pageant. Every year. And every year, the narration was the same, the actors were the same, the parts were the same, the choir sang pretty much the same songs every year. And yet it was powerful and inspiring every single year. There was a line at the beginning and the end that I remember well. I can still hear the man’s voice when I close my eyes and think of those hard, wooden chairs and the smell of that parking garage.
“It is time, once again, for the story to be told. A story of peace. Of goodness. Of God as Man. It must be told. And it’s greatest beauty is its truth.”
O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. May we be prepared to greet you.