Some Assembly Required (Christmas Eve 2014)

My mind has been wandering of late.  I’ve been thinking of all the Christmases when my kids were little and I laughed at the realization that my Christmas Eves no longer includes assembling toys!  Now there’s something to be both joyful and triumphant about. My daughter turns forty in 2015 making it years since my children were small. Even so, I can vividly recall the exhaustion that came when we would attempt construction of anything bearing the dreaded label “some assembly required.”

Letting my mind wander, it also occurred to some assembly requiredme that that this assembly experience is a skill set that could be useful –the kind of a skill set we might use to create a better life for ourselves and others.

So isn’t it perfect that tonight, on this holy Christmas eve, we are assembled in God’s name to welcome the Christ child?  It is here that we are invited to assemble a response to this good news.

This baby we welcome needs to be received, cared for and carried out—out into a world that could use some glad tidings, because frankly, the world feels very dark this year, full of violence, unrest and disparity.  It would be easy to throw up our hands in defeat, however… if Christmas teaches us anything it’s that we’re not alone in this broken world.

Because God comes down!

God came down in the form of a tiny baby and presto–the Word became flesh.

And in that fully human, fully divine act, God came to walk among us.   Whatever God hopes for this world, God promises to work in, with, and through us. As long as we can and do assemble a response.

This past Sunday in our Christmas program, the kids assembled a response when they quoted Ghandi, telling us to be the change we want to see in the world.  Ghandi said something else I like. He said “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Faith doesn’t ask us to hang out in sanctuaries and go home with no thought given to the world God loves. It’s why God assembled a plan to be in relationship with us.

When the Holy Spirit showed up at Mary’s side to tell her of their proposed relationship, she didn’t close the door.  When the word became flesh she welcomed, carried, and cherished the baby. Hers is an example to follow. In fact, I think that is the big question of Christmas.

How can we carry the baby in ways that also say YES to God’s world and God’s children?

Could we too make the word flesh by challenging oppression wherever it occurs?

Last Saturday I assembled with others at the Black Lives Matter protest in the Mall of America. I didn’t go to disrupt their blessed shopping. I went to add my voice to the racism that needs to be dis-assembled in this country.  It was a sobering experience.  Too many white people asked me what this protest was about, while black people simply said thank you. That experience informs the response I’ve assembled, that…

The gift of the Christ child is not a gift to put back in the box until next year, but rather it is a gift to share with a world that needs to know they are unconditionally loved, regarded as holy and deserving of a life full of equity and unbridled hope.

So tonight, when you’ve put all the toys and bicycles together, take a little time to let your mind wander.  Ask God what about your life could use a little divine assembly or dis-assembly. Like Mary, treasure God’s word and ponder them in your hearts.

Living into God’s greatest imagination for your life and this world will always come with the label “some assembly required.”  Thanks be to God.

 

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