Have a Holly Jolly Holy Mystery
November 30, 2022
By Jo Wiersema
Midweek Musings is a weekly Covenant blog with a variety of authors and a variety of topics.
It’s so easy to get lost in the hubbub of the holiday season. With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror, we’re looking down the tunnel of Christmas parties, ugly sweaters, and gifts to celebrate the season.
There’s so much to do. I’m looking at my calendar, seeing the holiday parties and lunch plans and coffee dates and it all feels like a lot. We have a lot going on here at Covenant that I sometimes forget the Why We Do What We Do (WWDWWD).
WWDWWD was a big part of Epic culture: The long days, the rushed deadlines, the high importance emails were all because the code Epic makes saves lives, it helps physicians work more efficiently, and it helps patients find financial assistance in times of need.
WWDWWD feels a little too obvious in ministry. You pull out the classic Sunday School answer of: “Jesus, duh”. Why are we coordinating the Advent Event and the Guatemala Auction and the Parents Afternoon Out and the Caravan and Blue Christmas and the Youth Connection Christmas Party and the Christmas Pageant? Why do We Do What We Do?
We get up each Sunday and we get into the too cold car on the too early of the morning because we’re called, as children of God, to be active participants in this season. To be active though, that can get us all caught up in the hubbub again. When our calendars are too full to sit down with the devotional or Scripture or Prayer, we lose the why.
I hope we can get past the cheesy sayings of “Putting the Christ back in Christmas” and other bland platitudes and take a moment of self-reflection. Are you looking so hard at the events over the next 4 weeks and feeling a little overwhelmed? Is the meaning of it all very . . .
I was presenting the Godly Play Advent story to the students at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary earlier this week. The slow cadence of the text and the reminder of the humble beginnings of a King that has come and is still coming was a way to shake up my small obsession with my calendar and the overwhelming weight of the coming weeks.
We can slow down and prepare ourselves.
Christmas is a mystery. We, as a church, need time to get ready for this holy season. Advent is the time to wait and to wonder in the Holy Mystery of Christ as a human. Fully divine, fully human, and fully baby. We can prepare ourselves bit by bit through slowing down. It’s okay if the presents aren’t wrapped and the tree isn’t decorated, and you forgot to buy the Christmas food favorite.
We’re to give ourselves grace in the hustle and bustle. We’re to slow down, intentionally, if only for a few moments. To give thanks for a God who knows us. Not only as a parent who made us in Their image, but as a Son who was human and lived and died and rose again from Earth. This same Earth that you woke up on. This same dang Earth that grew the wheat to make your bagels and the same Earth that provided the nutrients for a chicken to lay an egg, an egg that you eventually ate for breakfast.
Emmanuel: God with us.
God so loved the world, that They gave us Christ.
A human being, in a manger,
born of a woman,
no older than the youth in High School Youth Connection.
Prepare yourself for this Holy Mystery. Slow down, open your Bible, say a prayer, and honestly, whatever you forgot, it’s okay. Your body, your reflection, and your self-care are so much more important than the Christmas checklist.
Go in peace, serve the Lord,