I also hope you are beholding the wonder of the nativity, the greatest miracle of all. For Christmas has just begun. The 12 Days of Christmas are more than a song but a season of the church, celebrated between December 26th and January 5th, when we take time to remember the outrage and glory of God coming as one of us.
This Christmas Eve, we celebrated a wonderful time as a community remembering the power of the nativity and the greatest reversal the world has ever known. And we also celebrated the wide invitation of the gospel that includes everything and everyone as we packed the house with friends, neighbors and family for our largest gathering this year! My neighbor who walked across the street for the very first time on a Sunday morning, carrying his own folding chair underneath his arm, embodied this for me -- God has indeed moved into the neighborhood and everyone has a seat.
And of course, the highlight for me, as I'm sure it was for many of you, was when a long-time community member lit the Advent Candle and shared her story of Love coming in such a powerful way to redeem and heal her son, who had been lost to addiction for 17 years. There are no words that can fully capture moments like this in a community when a miracle happens right before our eyes and we are forced to shake off our cynicism and unbelief for just a moment and kneel like the shepherds did before this king -- in whom lies the redemption of the whole world.
So as you continue to behold the wonder of the nativity, I will leave you with this poem from our readings last Sunday (inspired by a tweet of Carlos Rodriguez and a icon of Kelly Latimore).
Emmanuel. God with us.
Us the dreamers.
Us the marginalized.
Us the forgotten.
Us the poor.
Emmanuel. God in the flesh.
You offered a new identity.
You restored our humanity.
You called us friends.
King of Kings.
We did not expect you.
Not like this.
A crying babe surrounded by rumor, filth and manure.
You disrupted the Empire with a love so powerful,
A gospel so dangerous,
A message so revolutionary,
Bringing liberation to the poor and to the slave.
Prince of Peace.
You entered a world of violence.
They tried to kill you and the killing continues.
You were a refugee, seeking asylum in a foreign land.
And the innocent blood of 2,000 babies still did not quench their thirst for violence,
Until they nailed your broken body to the cross.
But you conquered violence with peace; hate with love.
And so must we.
Savior of The World.
Caesar declared that He was Lord and Savior of The World.
But in your coming lies the greatest reversal the world has ever known.
The poor would be lifted up and the powerful would be brought down.
The hungry would be filled with good things and the rich would be sent away empty.
And a poor unwed pregnant teenager living under oppressive occupation
Would give birth to the Son of God.
The salvation of the whole world came through a poor and humble servant,
Through a woman with no power and through the vulnerability of a child.
by Jessica Ketola