Advent Anticipation

As we enter into Advent, I am thinking already about my assignment for Christmas Eve, which is to preach the 5 pm service. I’ve lately wanted to do something creative for the service, a narrative from the viewpoint of a minor character in the story, like a cow or the manger, but it suddenly came to me to maybe craft one from the point of view of the Bethlehem star…

Then I came across this devotional from Watch for the Light: Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Sky Full of Children,” which is beautiful, and wonderfully in good timing with my musings about the sermon. Some excerpts here:

I walk out onto the deck of my cottage, looking up at the great river of the Milky Way flowing across the sky. A sliver of a moon hangs in the southwest, with the evening star gently in the curve. Evening. Evening of this day. Evening of my own life.

I look at the stars and wonder. How old is the universe? All kinds of estimates have been made and, as far as we can tell not one is accurate. All we know is that once upon a time or, rather, once before time, Christ called everything into being in a great breath fo creativity – waters, land, green growing things, birds and beasts, and finally human creatures – the beginning, the genesis, not in ordinary Earth days; the Bible makes it quite clear the God’s time is different from our time. A thousand years for us is no more than the blink of an eye to God. But in God’s good time the universe came into being, opening up from a tiny flower of nothingness to great clouds of hydrogen gas to swirling galaxies…And God called it good, very good.

A sky full of God’s children! Each galaxy, each living creature, every particle and subatomic particle of creation, we are all children of the Maker…we are, as Christ promised us, God’s children by adoption and grace…brothers and sisters of Jesus, children of God, made in God’s image…

Was there a moment, known only to God, when all the stars held their breath, when the galaxies paused in their dance for a fraction of a second, and the Word, who had called it all into being, went with all his love in the womb of a young girl, and the universe started to breathe again, and ancient harmonies resumed their song, and the angels called their hands for joy?

Power. Greater power than we can imagine, abandoned, as the word knew the powerlessness of the unborn child, still unformed, taking up almost no space in the great ocean of amniotic fluid, unseeing, unhearing, unknowing. Slowly growing, as any human embryo grows, arms and legs and a head, eyes, mouth…slowly swimming into lfie until the ocean in the womb is no longer large enough, and it is time for birth…

Jesus, as Paul reminds us, was the firstborn of many brethren. I stand on the deck of my cottage, looking at the sky full of god’s children, and know that I am one of them.

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