Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day

Zechariah 2:10-13
v. 13 Be silent, all people, before the LORD; for he has roused himself from his holy dwelling.

Merry Christmas!

"Be silent." That's completely counter-intuitive today! Today is a day of much noise-making, although, as I write, John and I are having some quiet time before we are off to the family Christmas celebration which I have no doubt will not include the slightest moment of silence!

Zechariah (we depart from our friend Isaiah for a few days, but we will return) simply wants us to be in awe for a few moments. God, the maker of all that is, has "roused himself." God cares! God wishes to be present in our history.

And the "holiness" of his dwelling no longer matters. I take the inference here that if God is leaving his "holy dwelling" he must be settling in a place that is at least somewhat less than holy.

That is, of course, what Jesus did, taking our human flesh and being born as one of us among us, in a place about as far from the Temple, the holy place of his people, as possible. If that were it we might still celebrate today, but it is really the result of this action that causes all the fuss (and, believe me, there was much fuss at St. Stephen's and at Two Saints yesterday evening). The result of God's rousing himself from his holy dwelling, coming down among us in Jesus, is that he brought the holiness with him and made, by his presence, the unholy holy, the ordinary extraordinary.

So much so that we call ourselves a holy people, even though our actions often speak to the contrary. We are holy not because of what we have done, but because of what God has done to and with us.

Christmas is the celebration of the spread of holiness to the earth. Wherever we step today, we are stepping on holy ground, with whomever we speak, we are speaking with one of God's holy ones. If we are not able to be silent, let us at least remember this great miracle as we make our noise.

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