Today at St. Andrew’s we had a Christmas-in-March service. In our series “The Story,” we are traveling through the entire arc of Jesus’ life. So today was about incarnation: the word taking on flesh and dwelling among us.
I have had the opportunity to celebrate Christmas out-of-season a few times in my years in Ministry. It’s always interesting to do – I love the music and the scriptures of that season. I love all that it stands for, all that it signifies in the life of faith. And getting to encounter those songs and that part of the story without the hustle and bustle of the actual season, is quite stirring to me.
It was like when someone brings you tulips in the dead of winter, and you are shocked by their beauty, their alive-ness, their embodiment of Spring even as the wind howls and the ice cracks outside your windows.
To sing about the newborn baby while looking up at the Lenten banners adorning our church was beautiful and a little disconcerting (in the best way possible).
As Geoff reminded us in his message, Easter and Christmas go together. You can’t have one without the other. If the was no birth, no taking on of flesh, then there can be no death, nor miraculous resurrection. We celebrate both seasons, but we often celebrate them separately. In different times of the year, with different traditions and songs and scriptures. To keep Easter (and I mean all of Easter, including Lent) separate from Christmas (or vice versa) is to miss the point of both parts of the story.
As one of my favorite Christmas songs says, the baby was “born to bleed away the sins that cover our guilty hands.” The death was present at the birth, as the wisemen gave their gift of myrrh – a substance used in embalming. The life was present at the death – so present and so powerful that it overcame death and our sin was forgiven.
During the season of Lent, may you take a moment to remember that the word took on flesh and dwelt among us. May you see the beauty of the cross that is present at the cradle, and the truth that the cradle made the cross possible. May your Easter and Christmas celebrations always touch upon each other, so that you may know the full measure of God’s love for humanity.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
John 1:14 NIV