Saturday, December 17, 2011

An Advent Letter

Dear God,

Inviting us to make a home for you. Really? That’s how you save the world? Isn’t there some other way? It all seems so intimate. I’m not sure I’m ready for God in here. An arms-length relationship seems much safer. Much more reasonable. Much less of a commitment.

The angel says, “God is with you.” Perplexed by these words, we ponder what sort of greeting this might be. How can God be with me? I’m not holy enough. I’m too much of a heathen. I’m far from perfect. I could work out more often. Eat better. Be more generous, more hospitable, more forgiving. And if you want someone sitting in holy contemplation and prayer, I’m not necessarily your go-to gal. But you persist. You send angels who point to a fallible, frail, all-too-human being and say, “here.”

“Favored one?” Who am I? I’m an ordinary person from a small town far from the seats of power. In all these Christmas specials, I’m more like the anonymous townsperson in the crowd, not a main character. How can I be an adequate vessel? Isn’t there someone else? Somebody more holy? More special? Somebody with a little more free time?

The words are hanging in the air: “Holy Spirit…power of the Most High…Nothing will be impossible with God.”

I can’t speak for everyone, but I don’t think I’m the only one: Greatly perplexed. Questioning, “how can this be?” Thinking, “I’ve got enough things to worry about. I have other commitments. Maybe I’m mistaken. The angel could be here for someone else.”

But we look around, and realize that the angel is indeed talking to us. “Hail, O favored one! The Lord is with you. Do not be afraid.”

It’s hard to know what to say in such a moment. It doesn’t last long. We don’t have a ready-made script like Mary does. But when we’re lucky, the stars align over our heads and we can manage to stammer a complicated, “yes.”

Dear God, let that be enough.

Love, us.

PS: Merry Christmas.

Preached at McFarland UCC Dec 18 2011

Text - The Annunciation, Luke 1:26-38