RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW
It’s the Eve of the Nativity of our Lord and all is decidedly neither calm nor bright in many places in the world.
War rages on not only among nations but in the minds and hearts of men and women for whom the notion of “peace on earth, goodwill to men” – much less all people – rings as a dull bell of a broken, impossible dream.
If ever Jesus needed to return and be among us, right here and right now would be a good time for Jesus to make an appearance.
Of course, millennia of people have made that statement in different times and in different places. Year after year, century after century, generation after generation of people have looked East – and North, South and West – for Jesus to come and be among us, seemingly to no avail.
And yet, there are occasional small signs and wonders, hints and rumors, allegations and circumstantial evidence of the small, flickering sparks of the Divine in our midst.
Poets and prophets, musicians and writers call us to see evidence of God in everything from random acts of human kindness to the quiet, unexpected beauty of soft snow covering the hard ground, clothing bare tree branches with a certain majesty and nobility.
One of the miracles of the birth of Jesus is that our concept of time changed forever. John’s gospel tells us that “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God,” adding, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
Jesus is that Word, who was from before the beginning, is now, and will be forever.
It matters not to the faithful heart that Jesus was probably not born on December 25th. Some biblical scholars say the nativity most likely took place sometime in March.
Never mind. What is “real time,” anyway, except a boastful modern technological construct to make us feel better about not being where we’d like to be, right here and right now?
The birth of Jesus shatters the barriers of our human, limited, linear concepts of time. He not only changed our notions of the earth-bound time of our lives, but expanded time to include eternity.
Eternal life is the gift hidden deep among the folds of the swaddling clothes of that baby in that ancient manger in Bethlehem – even if it really didn’t happen exactly that way.
The Nativity is, in the Greek word for time, a “Kairos” moment. It is a occasion when time – human and divine – stands still, and the whole round earth knows something has happened which can’t be empirically measured or scientifically proven.
But, it is good, and it is right and it is holy. And, our lives are changed and transformed.
Which brings me, surprisingly enough, here. Of all times and places. To St. Laika’s. On Christmas Eve.
We come here from various places in the world, in various states of spiritual, emotional and physical being. Some of us hold a wide diversity of theological and faith perspectives, while others of us don’t quite know what to believe. Some of us are financially well situated. Other lives are marked by the almost constant worry and anxiety of financial distress.
We each have our own traditions, religious and cultural, that ‘make’ Christmas. Some of us can’t imagine this moment without trees festooned with favorite ornaments and dripping with tinsel that sparkles against the white or colored lights. Our doors are decorated with wreaths, our banisters and mantles adorned with garland. Perhaps there is a crèche in the living room and certain, special foods bake in our ovens or cook on our stoves and festive drinks sit upon our tables, waiting to fill sparkling holiday glasses.
Others of us sit alone in our apartments or large, beautifully appointed but otherwise empty homes, neither of which displays any evidence of the feast, save, perhaps, for a bowl of bright red and white stripped peppermint candies or a box of Christmas chocolates given to us by someone at the office. Some of us believe the lie that “Christmas is for kids.”
It may not yet be Christmas Eve where you are. It might already be Christmas Day. No matter. We gather here to come and worship. We join with others we do not know and may never have met “in the flesh” but with whom we are all related in this corner of the Christian Diaspora community of cyberspace.
We will listen to some prayers and Christmas hymns and carols, and time will not matter.
St. Laika’s is a unique, peculiar but vital and viable part of the post-denominational, emerging church movement. I do believe that, if Jesus were to return today – right here, right now – he would use the Internet and teach his disciples to use it to spread the Good News. Instead of sending them out, two by two, on foot, Jesus and his disciples would spread the Word in megabytes.
Indeed, I believe that is already happening.
Even now, time is standing still and the ancient voices of heavenly hosts and choirs of angels, cherubim and seraphim, are joining their voices with our own, wherever we are and whatever time it is in this exact moment.
If you still your souls, calm your minds, and open “the eyes of your heart”, you may discover a hint or two of the presence of God in your life.
Right here. Right now.
It may come to you in the unconditional love made manifest in the nudging of a dog or cat at your feet. It may come, floating delicately on the music of a Christmas carol, as an inexplicable and unplanned newborn inspiration to take the risk of creativity. Or, it may come as a random act of kindness from an unexpected source – perhaps even from yourself – to a most unlikely recipient.
It is Christmas Eve – at least where I am. All things are possible and all possibility is hope.
Even now, in this very moment, the Word is being made flesh and dwelling among us.
I cannot promise “peace on earth” or that people will have goodwill towards one another.
I can say that, for just this one moment in time – whatever time it is wherever you are, as we worship here at St. Laika’s – all will be a tad calmer and all will be just a bit brighter. Even in the darkest of night or the brightest of days.
Come, let us worship the newborn sovereign of our souls.
The author of this essay, the Reverend Elizabeth Kaeton, was, and still is, a pioneer blogger having started her internationally well known and well respected blog, TELLING SECRETS, nearly ten years ago, before blogging became the in-thing and well before Facebook was dominating the social networking scene.
St. Laika's strongly recommends that you check her writing out and that you do so regularly.