Wednesday December 23, 2009
by Rev. Dr. Jo Hudson
Rector & Senior Pastor
And a sword will pierce your own soul too. Luke 2:35
During this Advent season we, at the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, have had the wonderful opportunity to view a nativity scene that our pastor, Rev. Alejandro De La Torre, placed in our Hall of Heroes. It is a beautiful setting of the birth of Jesus and has many more figurines than are usually part of the traditional nativity scene. The figurines are placed on three different levels, with the manger scene at the top. I have watched each week as many people have stopped to look. Children have been delighted, and adults have paused to ponder.
What is interesting to me is that this nativity scene is placed in front of and covers a painting of Jesus’ body being carried down off the cross. Isn’t it ironic that as we look at the beauty of the manger scene and consider the mystery of Jesus being born, that behind that mystery is an even greater mystery of Jesus’ death and resurrection? Isn’t that the real reason that Christmas has hold of our hearts and our souls?
I think that we often miss the real power behind the story of the birth of Jesus because we lose sight of the end of the story. The child grew to be a man. The man loved God so fully and completely that he, in turn, loved the world, loved you and me. He lived fully and loved faithfully and was all that God had created him to be. He became a savior for us, a doorway to heaven, because he would rather die than reject the truths that love conquers hate, hope prevails over despair, and life wins out over death.
As you read this, Christmas Day draws near and perhaps it is important to remember that after the shepherds went back to their fields and after the Magi returned to their homes, Mary and Joseph took the child, Jesus, to be dedicated at the Temple. There they met an old man named Simeon, who as he held the baby Jesus, said to Mary, And a sword will pierce your own soul too. The old man, Simeon, pointed to the truth that the baby Jesus would grow up and be faithful to the promise of God’s love, even if it cost him his life. I wonder if Christmas is really about teaching us to do the same: grow into adults who are willing to risk the comforts of our living so that love and hope, peace and joy might be known in our world.
I hope that this Christmas, amid the joy of the season, the exchange of gifts and the time with family and friends, that you and I pause and ponder for a moment and remember a child who became the one who loved God so completely and lived so fully that he could not and would not compromise the truth of God’s relentless love for us. This is love, a love that saved our lives, a love that you and I could learn from. Merry Christmas.
O Christ, Redeemer of us all, come again to me and inhabit my heart, so that I might love as you have loved and so be part of God’s dream for our world. Amen.