A welcome beacon. A statement: Christ, Light of the world, enter this place.
In the United States of America, we don't fear death as a consequence of our celebration. Lights shine brightly regardless of religious creed or practice. Though much of the ancient symbolism remains, our struggles are much different. Could we be so welcoming, vulnerable even, to guests passing through? How about our own families?
I wonder, what does it take to muster courage to open the door...
- To the complaining grandfather who can't stand the chaos of too-loud tiny voices and excited, running feet?
- The passive-aggressive in-law who criticizes the household?
- The mother who glints "should's" through her disapproving stare?
- The gruff uncle who just can't seem to find a kind word...
Our own families, we hurt one another by poking the most tender places - many times unintentionally, other times with purpose. Unfortunately, it's bound to happen again this year. At some point, our hearts will prickle with hurt or un-forgiveness. Memories will arise of feeling less-than, unappreciated, jealous, taken advantage of, or overlooked. Resentment or offense will attempt to take its place at the dinner table and steal the joy. Inevitably. Unexpectedly.
Any of us who have the courage to enter into a relationship will eventually experience a wound like that. We're only human, after all. The question we'll face this week, in the gathering of hearts and the opening of doors, is this one thing:
This Christmas, may we trust that our God is just. May our hearts remain tender and hurts be laid at the feet of the Healer. May we pardon others the debt of our un-forgiveness. May we grant Him the power to make all things new through the birth of a Savior. Amen.
- Is there anything holding you back from fully embracing the gatherings this Christmas?
- On the flip side, what are you the most excited about?
Joyful, Courageous Advent,