My friend, Ginger, suggested for Advent I read The First Christmas, by Marcus Borg and John Crossan. It is full of potential meditation material, but I want to draw today on a minor point they make that I knew, but hadn’t ever thought about. Begin by singing to yourself the start of the hymn “Joy to the World,” and unless you sing in the choir or had an opera singer for a mother like Suzy you might find yourself mouthing “the Lord has come” when the actual words are “the Lord is come.” The point is made again in the line from “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” – “Oh holy child of Bethlehem… be born in us today.”
The authors suggest and is appropriate to consider that the purpose of Advent and Christmas is to bring the past into the present, and the authors of the hymns also seem to suggest that the birth of Christ is not just about some event that occurred 2000 years ago. “The Lord is come” and “born in us today” are talking about the present. Luis in his sermon last Sunday, found at www.stjohns-dc.org, talked about John the Baptist and how John’s message is relevant to us today – “Are you prepared?” I suggest you take fifteen minutes to listen to Luis.
I suggest that we all consider and meditate upon the reality that the Christmas story is not just something that has happened, but it is also about something that is about to happen. My grandchildren look under the tree and see all those presents and quiver and giggle with anticipation. Are you giggling? Are you quivering? You should be if you think about it, because this Christmas you will soon be singing, “The Lord is come” and “the child is born in us.”