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Advent Reflection – December 18th

December 18th, 2017 by Stephen Bauman

December 18th

Rev. Dr. Stephen Bauman

At Christmas, I am always struck by how the spirit of togetherness lies also at the heart of the Christmas story. A young mother and a dutiful father with their baby were joined by poor shepherds and visitors from afar. They came with their gifts to worship the Christ child.

– Queen Elizabeth II

The good Queen has it right: “the spirit of togetherness lies at the heart of the Christmas story.” We might say it this way: humans are meant for loving community. We are shaped and honed by the nexus of our family and friends. Do we need the reminder? The more these are nurtured by authentic love, the healthier and stronger each person becomes.

The Christmas story is the tale of a young family under stress. Loving commitment shapes the outcome. Perhaps you have noticed in your own experience how charismatic and attractive loving commitment can be, drawing others in, sponsoring a welcoming hospitality. It’s no wonder that our nativity scenes include an astonishing crowd—lowly shepherds, heavenly choir, exotic visitors, not to mention a barnyard of animals.

This is a modest idea in a season of over-indulgence. Quiet, sustained love for others has a hard time competing for our attention and allegiance in the miasma created by social media and technology addictions. Skating along the surface of relationships we’ll miss the real treasure found in more homely disciplines of sharing physical space and time with others without benefit of electronic distractions. I wonder how many Christmas tables will be surrounded by faces illuminated by glowing screens.

Prayer: Holy God, may the spirit of togetherness infuse our lives in this wondrous season. Help us to choose the simple disciplines that foster loving relationships. Amen.

Stephen Bauman

Rev. Dr. Stephen P. Bauman is the Senior Minister at Christ Church.