Valley fog was slipping up the canyon between flanks of green, soon to surround us. The puffy white mist glistened in the sun and I watched it draw closer, creeping and displacing the colors of the hills with whiteness, dimming the light. The miracle of weather played out before me, the changing of molecules and temperature, as time slipped too, time moving unstoppable just like the fog.
Today, the tenth day of Christmas 2009, the third of January, 2010. We enter another year, another decade, and as I stepped into Saint Peter’s Church I felt the presence of time and eternity, as though they collided in this sanctuary. I sensed the greater Church as well – all those worshiping throughout our world, on this good earth, in past, present, and future – as we gathered to offer ourselves to the Baby in Bethlehem, to receive his gift.
For, as our preacher said this morning, the Christ Child is the great gift of Christmas. God became man that man might become God, participate in the Divine. God became a child so that we might become children of God. God gives himself to us so that we might become His children by becoming one with the Babe in the manger. God acts. God gives. We respond. We receive.
We offer ourselves, this hour, this day, this year, this decade, so that we might partake of eternity with him. So that time disappears and at yet also, mysteriously becomes more real, more intense, more full of the pulse of life. God gives himself in Bethlehem. He gives himself on the altar today.
This is the mystery and miracle of Christmas. This is God with us, incarnate, in us. Such joy.