The third pink candle lit in the Advent tradition is intended to signify our excitement over the birth of a child, the son of Mary and the Son of God. The birth of a baby is always such a beautiful opportunity to witness a miracle. It astounds me when I consider that God’s plan for our salvation was such risky business. Babies are fragile; dependent; needy. Babies, although fully human and already possessing their personality and potential the day they are born, require the adults who love them to study them to learn how to best meet their needs. What if we miss? What if we are wrong as we seek to love our babies well?
How was it that God thought it was a good idea to put Jesus into the arms of a young, unwed woman from a humble town with few material resources? Why did this make sense to him? I am unsure, but it occurs to me that we need to remember it. We need to remember that the birth of Jesus was not a Hallmark movie moment.
It was a story that included hardship, loneliness, homelessness, and some weird gift giving by virtual strangers. As Jill Phillips sings, “It was not a silent night.”
Think about it.
The REAL Christmas story is closer to our lived realities than our idealized dreams. How can this change our own expectations? Our own responses to others during this sacred season?