Pastor’s Pen                   December 20, 2017

“Praise the Lord!

Praise the Lord from the heavens!

Praise God in the heights!

Praise God, all the angels;

Praise God, all the host…” Psalm 148

“When you’re really shipwrecked, you do really find what you want. When you’re really on a desert island, you never find it a desert…If we were snowed up in this room, we’d be the better for reading scores of books in that bookcase that we don’t even know are there; we’d have talks with each other…we’d find materials for everything.”

  1. K. Chesterton, MANALIVE

No detail of our shipwrecked lives go unnoticed or unrecalled. The day the world stood still for us, we remember precisely our location, the season of the year, the faces of everyone in the room. Come Christmas, we’re shipwrecked too. For five minutes, sometime in these days to come, we will find ourselves alone. The stores will no longer appeal, the banks and post office will blessedly close.

We’ll gather at church to share the words we’ve always said at the lighting of the Christ Candle. “Our time of waiting is over. Christmas is come. What is undone will have to be left undone.” Thank God there’s an end to all of it. At least I suspect that’s what Mary said.

By the time Mary arrived with Joseph in Bethlehem, she was heavy into labor. Traveling the seventy miles from Galilee to Bethlehem must have seemed like a thousand, an impossible demand for a world that apparently couldn’t wait to count her, or her unborn child.

And then the world stopped. The whole world waited. Children and animals slept. Shepherds kept watch. Innkeepers laid out bread and honey for the morning meal. Mary and Joseph found themselves shipwrecked in a stable. She breathed in the pungent animal smells, memorized their heavy body sounds: ox, donkey and lamb creating an unlikely lullaby. And then, and then, the Word made flesh cried out, splitting the heavens for all time. “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace.”

So stop what you’re doing, there’s no better place to go. There’s no other place to be. There’s nothing more to be done. It matters little what you now accomplish. The story is complete without any help from you at all. Receive the gift of God for the people of God.

“O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him, O come let us adore him, Christ the Lord.”


God of all Creation, who was from the beginning, one God, Word made flesh in the fullness of time, thank you the gift of Jesus. For all created things, thank you. For rocks and trees, thank you. For snow and wind, thank you. For warm fire and sparkling water, thank you. For every human given to our care for loving, thank you, thank you. Amen