The Work of Christmas
The Christmas season lasts twelve days, and I hope you are all still basking in the light of the tree, enjoying rare moments with visiting loved ones, and contemplating the truly amazing thought that God wanted to come to us in a human form we could know and understand.
That union between God and humanity we call the Incarnation – literally, the “infleshment” of God.
“Veiled in flesh the Godhead see,
Hail the incarnate Deity!”
proclaims the great carol “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.” Our first response to this miracle is certainly awe and wonder and thanksgiving.
But our next response is action. Soon the festivities of Christmas will be over, but the work of Christmas begins. If God comes to earth in bodily form, then our bodies – our physical being – is important. That means we are called to care for our own bodies, and care for the bodily needs of all humans. That has implications for all Christians:
- The bodily health and wholeness of all humans, so hunger and disease anywhere is a stain on our world.
- Violence against human beings anywhere is an offense against Christ himself, who suffered violence but did not lash out in revenge.
- The vulnerability of children is of special concern, because Jesus came to us as a helpless child, dependent on the love and kindness of others for survival. Migrant children at our borders are just as precious to God as our own children.
So what action will you take to proclaim the Incarnation in our own time? To do the work of Christmas? Whom will you feed, or clothe, or heal? How will you leave your comfort zone and get to know people who are poor, or sick, or suffering in some way? This is the most important New Year’s Resolution you can make.
Today, we all have the opportunity to take a small step, to do the work of Christmas. We are making over 300 sandwiches today between our two services (starting around 9:50 a.m.), to be delivered to Martha’s Table downtown, and then distributed in the streets of Washington. Each sandwich is a small offering of love and care to someone whose stomach is empty. Each one is a little work of Christmas – in which God inhabited a human body, and blessed all human beings in the process. Thank you for doing this work. JBM