We are one week from Christmas Eve and though I do have a sermon or two to write it’s high time to contribute here, again, (or so our son, Chase, suggests). So here are a few thoughts about what’s going on around us.
Many thanks, again, to President Dale Meyer of Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO, for sharing this gem from G. K. Chesterton (G.K.C.). It was in the larger context of the Wisdom of God which has come to be among us in Christ Jesus. As we contemplate our need for the wisdom of God this quote emphasizes how much we need it. “If a man says, ‘I’d like to find something greater than myself,’ he may be a fool or a madman, but he has the essential. But if a man says, ‘I’d like to find something smaller than myself,’ there is only one adequate answer – ‘you couldn’t.’”
I used to be a stickler in Advent. I would steal myself against celebrating, contemplating, or enjoying the Christmas season until after December 25th, when the 12 days of Christmas truly begin. But I found that I was pretty much alone in wanting to watch Christmas movies and enjoy Christmas music so late in the season. So, while I very much appreciate the significance of Advent – considering the three-fold coming of Jesus at the nativity, in the Word and Sacraments, today, and in glory at the end of days – I’m also enjoying here in December that great segment of our hymnody that revels in the birth of Christ Jesus in Bethlehem.
There was a bit of a kerfuffle I noticed on the news last week. It was suggested that Pope Francis was considering changing the wording of the Lord’s Prayer. The Pope could be a little more circumspect when he addresses the press, but I found the explanation in the National Catholic Register helpful. It seems the Catholic church in France has begun to say, “don’t let me fall into temptation,” rather than, “lead us not into temptation.” Pope Francis simply suggested that the Italian Catholics might want to follow suit. Again, he ought to know that what he says is going to be examined every which way. All this leads me to thankfulness for what we have known all along, courtesy of Dr. Martin Luther’s Small Catechism and its explanations (this one in the latest translation):“God tempts no one. We pray in this petition that God would guard and keep us so that the devil, the world, and our sinful nature may not deceive us or mislead us into false belief, despair, and other great shame and vice…”
And finally, back to G.K.C. Here is the last segment of his Christmas Poem, (which may lead you to want to google it for yourself!).
To an open house in the evening
Home shall all men come,
To an older place than Eden
And a taller town than Rome.
To the end of the way of the wandering star,
To the things that cannot be and that are,
To the place where God was homeless
And all men are at home.
God bless you as together we trek to the manger in Bethlehem, once more, rejoicing in the birth of our Savior Jesus the Christ.