Undoubtedly we will hear and agree that this Christmas is different. Masks, roped off pews, social distancing, pandemic, post-election -- well, you name it. It all seems to point us to the fact that this will be a Christmas unlike every other. And, yes, I will admit, some things will be different. But Christmas will not. Whether or not all your family makes it home, Christ made His home among us. Whether or not you are quarantining or trying to venture out as safely as possible, Christ took flesh and with it all that is dangerous, ugly, destructive, and marked for death upon Himself for YOU. Whether or not there will be packages under the tree to open, Christ came for the tree of the cross and His birth points you to what God has done to bestow upon you grace you neither deserve nor have earned. Whether or not some loved ones will be mourned this year instead of laughing, eating, and enjoying the day with us, Christ came to usher in the eternal dawn of light and life in which we are reunited with those who have gone before us with the sign of faith. Yes, some things will be different but not the thing that makes it Christmas.
Every Christmas, the people of God have gathered with their wounds and their wonder, their worries and their whining, their fears and their fretting, their sorrows and their struggles. No Christmas has come to us with everything in place, everything on their best behavior, all the right gifts and food, and all the right people gathered. Or there would be no need for Christmas. Christ has come for us precisely because of what is wrong and not because of anything that is good or right. He has come as the great Savior of a people who need to be rescued -- not in the least from themselves and their self-absorbed lives. Christ has come for a broken people living in a broken world with broken dreams formed from broken hearts. That has always been Christmas, from the first night in which the angels swelled the silence with song and the star swelled the hearts of strangers to join the shepherds in worshiping Him who is born, King and Redeemer. It is true tonight. Yes, we may have to look past what has disappointed us or the constraints placed upon our celebrations or the sorrows that dampen our joys. But we have always had to do that. Christ did not come to affirm anything -- not even what we love -- but to rescue every one and every thing. That is the hope born of the Virgin, laid in the manger, and worshiped as God in flesh.
Do yourself a favor and put on Lutheran Public Radio and listen to Christmas there. . .