Pastor’s Blog – “Seeking the Center'” by Rev. Hal Murry
For months now, even before Halloween in some cases, we’ve been receiving reminders about the importance of having a “perfect” Christmas. According to our culture, this mostly involves buying the right gifts from the right stores; enjoying them in the perfectly decorated home; amidst a perfectly happy family! We are encouraged to spend a lot of time and money trying to achieve this kind of Christmas. But the truth is that many of us begin to feel a certain fatigue and emptiness and sadness this time of year, as we realize once again that our lives and our families and our budgets will never measure up to the kind of picture-perfect Christmas that we see on TV commercials.
For Christians, particularly in this era and in this culture, it has become important every year for us to find our spiritual center in the ancient stories describing the first Christmas. In the first Christmas, God’s work upset comfortable religious expectations. In the first Christmas, God overturned the most widely held social and political conventions. For Joseph and Mary there was no flawless lead-up to Christmas – no elaborate preparation dictated by convention. Concurrent with the first Christmas, there was wonder and scandal, confusion and courage, beauty and poverty, darkness and light. There were unexpected guests, and a Savior, born to a teenage mother, outside an overbooked inn. Most of all there was the hope for a better world that the presence of God always brings.
Amid our less than picture perfect Christmas, in our less than perfect homes and families and lives, in our less than perfect culture, God seeks our help in doing something new. God never stops trying new things to make the world better. And with whom does God seek to collaborate today? With you and me. Have you thought much about the ancient stories lately? It’s time. It’s Advent (time to get ready!). “Give your entire attention to what God is doing right now.” (Matthew 6:33, The Message, by Eugene H. Peterson).
Sunday worship during Advent is 9:30.
Just one Christmas Eve service this year — at 7:30 p.m.