I hope your Christmas was filled with joy and blessings. Certainly, Christmas 2020 is memorable. Many of our rituals, routines and rhythms got upended, like so much else, by the pandemic. I missed being in our beautiful sanctuary singing beloved Christmas carols with you. We missed having our son home with us for the holiday. We missed our quirky Christmas day family ritual of a trip to Waffle House followed by a movie (usually a bad one) and popcorn. And yet, I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I am thankful beyond words to be with you this Christmas, to work with an amazing group of people, to be close to my extended family, to be discerning with you where God is calling us in the months and years ahead.
As we mark the twelve days of Christmas, I pray we will take time to reflect on 2020 and feel all the feelings our recollections of it evoke. Grief, lament, confusion, anger, joy, weariness, relief, praise, sadness. Whatever you feel in this moment, Emmanuel is with you. Nothing is off limits to God’s compassion, grace and goodness. Now is a time, I believe, to be gentle with ourselves and with one another. As Mary held the infant Jesus and pondered all she heard and felt in her heart, we too, are invited to linger at the manger for a little while. We are given the gift of resting in Christ’s presence.
There is a prayer that is especially meaningful to me, one from the New Zealand Book of Worship that is to be prayed at night. These lines in particular offer me comfort:
Lord, it is night. What has been done, has been done. What has not been done, has not been done. Let it be.
Perhaps this might be our prayer as we near the end of this year. What has been done, has been done. What has not been done, has not been done. Let it be. Let us turn over to God the loose ends and mistakes, the regrets and the what ifs, entrusting them to the One who comes not to condemn us but to save us, the One who uses even leftover fragments to feed and sustain us. Trusting, in the words of Ephesians 3:20, that God is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine.