The question Jesus asked the disciples, “What did you go out to see?,” when they went looking for him, has all the earmarks of the Advent/Christmas season. What is it exactly we go out to see when we talk about, think about, buy for, celebrate, this holy season? Of course the answer to that depends on who we are individually, what our histories are concerning this season, what our traditions are. Yet there is built into the Advent/Christmas season so many themes that we only have to choose which one we want to give priority to. For myself I opt for memory. By memory I don’t mean memories of eating, drinking, gift-giving, family togetherness and music, music, music. These are all integral parts of our Advent/Christmas celebrations of course and all have meaning for us.
When I say memory, I mean, “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself” (2 Cor 5:19). The theological/practical impact of this simple sentence is almost beyond our understanding. What I think about for myself when I write about memory is how that statement from 2 Corinthians filters down to us like falling snow. If God is reconciling us to himself, along with all the human race, who are we reconciling ourselves to in response? Mom reconciling with dad in attitude and inner spirit? Children reconciling with parents, brothers with sisters, former enemies now become friends? What’s the use of a reconciling God if it pays no dividends in the reconciling of God’s children to one another? Ah, the magic and mystery of Christmas: lights, trees, greetings, homecomings! Yes, homecomings, people coming home to God, children coming home to parents, old enemies coming home as new friends. “God and sinners reconciled/Joyful all ye nations rise/Join the triumph of the skies…..” In reconciliation from God to person and from person to person, we truly join the triumph of the skies.
May God bless us everyone.