Below is a message I sent to the Capital University community as we celebrate the holidays. Some in that community encourage me to share it more widely, and so, I now share it with you with tidings of comfort and joy in this season.
The holiday season is squarely upon us. Some holidays, like Diwali, Bodhi Day, and Hanukkah, have already come and gone with fanfare, food, and friendship in bloom. Others, like Christmas and Kwanzaa, are still budding before they blossom.
The Christmas season, which begins on December 25th and lasts for twelve days (you may know the song, after all), emanates from a spectacular story that tells of a moment in time when the fullness of the divine entered the ordinariness of birth. All that is supernatural becomes contained within the body of a baby. After all, Emmanuel, the stage name given to this child called Jesus, means “god with us.” That’s a story of transformative, incomparable power not just come close to us, but dwelling within us. Within our communities and our species, seeking the very best for our communities and our species.
Somehow, though, we’ve sanitized the revolutionary character of this tale. Like Robin Williams’ Genie in Disney’s Aladdin, this is “phenomenal cosmic power (in) itty, bitty living space.” Though the child is small, the potential impact is massive, and the results profound. Christmas reminds us, whatever our traditions, that transformative power lies within the apparently powerless among us. Why do we lose sight of that?
Perhaps we simply do not or cannot believe the miracle. That’s fair. It’s not, after all, logical.
Perhaps we’re raptured by the cuteness of the tale. Indeed, somewhere, at this very moment, someone just yelped, “Baby!” simply because they saw a newborn. That, too, is fair, for children contain an innocence and purity practically alien to our adult experiences.
What if the reason we resist the magic of this season is because we resist the possibility of a power outside of us? Perhaps the issue is not distraction with the external, but pride with the internal. Could our absence of humility prevent us from seeing the absolutely positive cosmic condescension contained within this tale?
Maybe that’s not it, either. Who knows. What I do know is that, annually on Christmas Eve, I hear this story somewhere, usually in a little Lutheran church in Orrville, with family and friends by my side, and we’re together prompted to recall that we are not alone in this universe. Not as a species. Not as communities. Not even as individuals. Somehow, some way, the power that preceded the Big Bang inhabits a child with purpose to transform the very cosmos, beginning with us. That’s a beautiful and powerful reminder these days. You are not alone and you are supported with power. Whatever your present circumstance is not the sum total of your value or your potential. It’s beyond mystical. It’s beyond cute. It’s definitely beyond us, and yet, absolutely within us.
Annually, this story heartens my soul because it offers this reminder: it is never too late to change our world. Not for you. Not for anyone else. That change begins with not just our own fortitude, but with the indwelling of supernatural significance in our midst and for our good. From our immediate spheres of influences to the grandest global contexts, transformation for the better is always possible. Change on any scale begins with change in each of us. And precisely because it is never too late to change the world, now is a divine time to start.
For whatever holidays you and your family celebrate this season, I wish you joy and wonder, happiness and wellness. I hope, in whatever spaces and communities you enter, you are reminded that you are not alone. In that reassurance, may you experience blessing upon blessing.
Grace and peace,
Rev. Drew Tucker | Capital University | 614.236.7737 | email@example.com
University Pastor | Director for the Center for Faith and Learning
Simultaneously a sinner and a saint.