I woke up this morning with my eyes set on Jesus. Actually I woke up this morning to read on my Facebook that someone was advocating that we cancel Christmas this year until we are ready to act like Christ. The writer of that article did a great and yet dismal job of listing all that ways that Christians across the centuries, right up to the present, have marched forward in the name of Jesus spreading fear and hatred, violence and oppression, privilege and exclusion.
The author that I read this morning was crystal clear that we have no right to celebrate the birth of the one who gave his life “for the least of these” until we straighten up and turn around (repent). Until we are ready to recognize Christ everywhere and greet “that of God” in all. She said “Christmas should be cancelled until we’re actually ready to welcome Jesus into our hearts, our homes, our thinking, our voting, our actions, our words, our lives…until we’re ready to recognize Jesus in the eyes of everyone. Especially the “least of these.”
I was convinced that she was right until I started taking my eyes off her reflection and my eagerness to align with her clear eyed reflection. I put my eyes on Jesus and I saw that there is no way that we can cancel our celebration of Christmas any more that we could cancel the birth itself. God did not put a hold on the incarnation until the world was ready to greet Jesus. If our readiness was what was needed then, or now, we would still be waiting. Which of course is part of what Advent is all about – waiting for Jesus to come yet again.
This morning, the day before Advent begins again, I am thanking God that it is not my or our readiness that makes/allows God to burst into our lives. God/Christ/Jesus/Spirit comes at the most inconvenient, unexpected and rejected times all the time.
Even when we are full of ourselves, acting our worst, feeling at our worst, speaking out of turn “in the name of Jesus” or in any of God’s names, God arrives. Whether we are ready or not. Christmas is not canceled this year, because the Love that walked the earth, has a lot of walking to do. It is not in our power to cancel God’s arrival. We don’t have to be ready. And yet…what would it look like if, in fact, we were ready? That is worth 4 weeks of Advent. Not meditating on Christmas but meditating on our surprise, day after day, being in the presence of God.