Some of us like to dance! Christmas with its joyful hymns can, and often does entice us to dance. Even though our scripture passages that speak of the nativity tend to be more solemn and majestic in their readings, I believe that those who first witnessed this miraculous event were filled with such joy at the birth of God’s Son that there must have some kind of noisy conversations, laughter, and even song in those early hours after his birth. The shepherds couldn’t have entered silently into the scene; they had already seen God’s work in the angels and star. Their awe might have translated into sharing their experience with the young couple, singing a song of praise as one of them played a pan flute. Laughter must have rung out of the little shelter, hope filling every corner of the stable.
The animals within the stable would have naturally been making noise with the disruptive sounds coming from the area where Mary would have given birth. Babies cry when they are first born. Noise, the beautiful music of new life coming into the world, and the overwhelming love and joy that replaces the discomfort of birthing, that’s what those who were witnesses would have seen and known at the time of Jesus birth. When we really ponder upon our own experiences with birth, don’t words like joy, hope, and love come to mind? Peace comes later, when the newness of the baby breaking into our lives calms down, family and friends go home, and as new parents, we are left to bask in the beauty of the newest member of our family. We find ourselves in awe of the silently sleeping new child that has changed our lives forever.
We know that Jesus’s birth, and very existence changed the world. Our time together with our family and friends is how we express our gratitude for all God has done for us by placing Christ in our lives. We can respond and celebrate the gift of the season by giving to those who are struggling, hurting, or in need. This Christmas our congregation is celebrating Christ’s birth by supporting The Friendly Center and Grace Children’s Hospital in Haiti. The Friendly Center is a United Methodist Church Mission in Northern Toledo which serves children, youth, and the elderly in one of the poorest neighborhoods in our city. We will split the gifts we receive with Grace Children’s Hospital in Haiti. Year after year we have given to this hospital. After the devastating earthquake in 2010, our gifts have become an even greater statement of our love for God’s children.
May your Christmas holiday be filled with joy, peace, hope, and love. May you dance and sing as the Messiah enters into the world once more, and may your New Year also be a new opportunity to experience the new life of the season as you begin your new year.
I look forward to seeing you at Christmas Eve Service, at 7:00. Thank you for your generous gift also.
In Christ’s love,
Pastor Mary Sullivan