Theme: Living Into Joy

Written by Rev. Raygan Baker, First Congregational Church of Fresno

Luke 4:16-20

Mary treasured these things in her heart.

The Advent calendars have counted down, the carols have been sung, the candles have been lit and extinguished. The baby was born, and the presents (which took hours to shop for and wrap), have finally been opened (in a matter of seconds). So, what did you get? Was it what you wanted? If so, was it as wonderful as fulfilling as you thought it would be? If not, was the countdown a bust? In short, did it work? Did your traditions live up to your memories of them? Did you ever really buy that that baby was a greater gift than everything else on your wishlist? Was whatever you hoped for, longed for, or watched for throughout Advent, even with guarded suspicions, as good as it was promised?

Personally, my favorite part of Christmas is late in the evening of Christmas Day. At least for me and my family, there’s nothing left to do. No more gifts to give or receive, no more big meals to prepare for, and in fact, leftovers will take care of the next several meals. Even more, whatever was left undone in the preparation for the season will now have to be left undone. For some, Christmas Eve feels like the big celebration, and by late on Christmas Day, it is over; but for me, it’s my best chance during the whole season to find silence. And I find that silence to be pregnant with an ineffable hope.

Whether your deepest longings and desires were fulfilled or not, Christmas worked. God came to us in the most intimate way, in a body. God longed so deeply to be near us, that God removed every barrier between the Creator and the created people. This is our “Good news of great joy.”

However your Christmas Holiday has gone to this point, can you find a time and a place to treasure these things in your heart? I find that this is often best experienced in silence, while being mindful of your body. Sit comfortably, breath deeply and intentionally, and don’t worry about where your thoughts wander, just point yourself toward what you treasure.