The story shared by Doris Weyl Feyling is based upon “The Christmas Story” from Sun Stories: Takes from Around the World to Illuminate the Days and Nights of Our Lives written by Carolyn McVickar Edwards (San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco, 1995), pp. 128-133, elaborating upon the gospel accounts.
Reflection for Christmas Eve
December 24, 2022
Good evening St. Aidan’s, and Merry Christmas. We have just heard the Christmas Story from Doris Weyl Feyling, wonderfully weaving together the narratives of the gospels of Luke and Matthew. A portion of this story overlaps with one we heard last Sunday—the part where Joseph is visited by an angel in a dream and told, “do not be afraid.” In this moment of uncertainty, Joseph is told, amid life’s unexpected twists and turns, do not be afraid to step into the unknown. Receive the gift of the child whom you are to name Jesus. Embrace the journey on which the Holy Spirit is taking you, Mary, and this child to come.
Friends, you in all of your journeys do not need me to tell you that life is full of the unexpected. You do not need me to tell you that sometimes life is downright difficult, even at Christmas, sometimes especially at Christmas. For those of us who have experienced loss – as this community just did early this morning with the loss of our friend Roger Wolcott – the sadness can be hard to know how to hold together with the joy of this season. If perhaps that mix of emotions is a challenge, we are invited to recall that the heart of this feast, the Christ mass, is Emmanuel which means “God with us.” God is with us in and through all things, certain and uncertain, expected and unexpected. God is with us when our road is bright and shining and when it isshrouded in shadow. God is with us in the flesh and blood, the vulnerability and possibility of a tiny baby born in the margins to parents on the move. And God calls us, like Joseph, to step into the uncertainty that life brings our way, trusting in the surrounding embrace of the Holy Spirit. God calls us in the tradition of Mary the God-bearer, to remember, to proclaim with our very lives, that with God, new life emerges in all sorts of forms, is born in the most unexpected places. The light shines in the shadows. God is with us.
St. Aidan’s friends, my prayer for all of us this Christmas is that we would feel God’s presence surrounding us with care, strengthening and encouraging us when the way ahead feels unclear or overwhelming. God is with us. Together let us rejoice in the depth of that presence, that abiding love born into our midst, this night and always. Amen.