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Advent Reflection – December 24, 2012

Monday, December 24, 2012

By Rev. Adam Hange

Scripture:  Titus 2:11-14, NRS

All Ready And Not Yet.  Christmas Eve has always been magical to me. On the one hand, it’s not quite Christmas. We’re still waiting for one more sleep. No gifts have been exchanged, at least not in my family’s tradition. It is still not quite the 25th! On the other hand the holiday is already in full swing and has been for weeks. The tree is up, the decorations are out, cookies are baked and eaten (yum!). The kids in the pageant have already finished the story of Mary and Joseph and how they didn’t find any room in the Inn. In a lot of ways, it’s already “Christmas” well before the 25th rolls around. The magic of Christmas Eve is the mystery of the “all-ready-and-not-yet.”

That sentiment also describes a lot of the Christian life. How? Well, most of us, if pressed, will admit that there are days when we rightly deserve to find a big lump of coal in our stockings. There may have been moments in the past few weeks when we were anything but self-controlled, upright or godly. Especially during the hustle and busyness of the Christmas season, we can become impatient, apathetic, or just selfish, and it can start as early as Black Friday! Let’s just say, it’s a good thing Santa is so generous with presents, because frankly we know better.

But that’s part of what the Christian life understands so well. We live in a perpetual state of already-but-not-yet. Each year we make new resolutions to “do better” but each year we realize how much “better” we need to do. “We wait for the blessed hope” even while we “train” to renounce all impiety and worldly passions. We are so obviously not “there” yet, and still God’s grace finds us anyway. And that’s the miracle of salvation! In Christ, God’s grace covers us. We are at once being saved and saved already! Like Christmas Eve, we’re already there, and yet still have a little further to go. Now, that brings some Christmas cheer to my heart!

God of salvation, as a child excitedly waiting for Christmas morning, I wait with all eagerness for your redeeming grace to fully transform my life. Thank you for loving me more than I deserve, and giving me your gift of grace and peace. 

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