We just needed a do-over. Seriously. Last month Kendyll & I bought our tree after Thanksgiving and it didn’t work out. Within the first week pine needles were already coating the floor and the branches were getting brittle. It wasn’t long before we realized that our little tree wasn’t even going to last until Christmas. So this week we rushed out on our day off to replace it with a new tree before hosting a family gathering.

Sometimes we all just need a do-over. Maybe we’ve been surprised by the people or circumstances in our lives. Maybe we haven’t thought through our plans. Or maybe we’ve done everything that we were supposed to and we’re still left with a situation that seems to be crumbling before our eyes. We all face people or circumstances that are surprising, difficult, broken, or inconvenient. Sometimes we just need a do-over. 

Christmas is the perfect time of year to consider new beginnings and fresh starts — but I’m not sure we can describe it as a do-over. If we learn anything from the great tapestry of Christian Scripture it’s this:  God is more interested in joining our circumstances than replacing our circumstances. God joined Abraham & Sarah in the midst of their wandering. God joined Jacob in the midst of exile. God joined Joseph in the midst of imprisonment. God joined Israel in the midst of slavery. The story continues through famine, war, exile, homecoming…

Until we arrive at Christmas, when God joins us personally in Jesus. That’s the great message of the Incarnation:  God doesn’t make a fresh start by replacing our surprising, difficult, broken, or inconvenient circumstances. God joins us, and then transforms our circumstances from within. 

At Christmas, we’re invited to gather up all of the surprising or challenging circumstances of our lives. We’re invited to find a fresh start by allowing God to join us. We’re invited to let God continue — or begin — the lifelong journey of transforming our lives & communities from within. As we celebrate the birth of Jesus we’re invited to see where new life is already coming to birth around us. And then we’re invited to keep watching and listening, trusting that the divine birth we celebrate at Christmas is the same transforming love that comes to join us in every circumstance throughout the year. 

The Rev’d. Eric M. Hillegas

Christmas Eve, Saturday, December 24th at 7 pm: Evening Eucharist w/Candlelight
Christmas Day, Sunday, December 25th at 10 am: Festal Eucharist
New Year’s Day, Sunday, January 1st at 10 am: Service of Nine Lessons & Carols
Feast of Lights, Sunday, January 8th at 3 pm: Ecumenical Epiphany Service at Sacred Heart 

AuthorEric Hillegas