Today is the day before Christmas. I’m going to have to apologize for the cheesy sense of humor, but something came over me and I found myself writing a politically incorrect parody on Clement Moore’s Night Before Christmas. Fortunately I stopped when I got to “Mama in her PPE and dad in his red hat.”
It was all coming too easily so it had to end! I just couldn’t go there. So here’s all I need to share of my epic – condensed to the first and the last lines:
‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all though the house even the mice were social distancing…
… But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, “It’s not me, America, it’s you; I left coal in your stockings; you’re all fired!”
But seriously, friends:
My emotions want me to post photographs from Christmas Eve 2019, featuring three worship services packed with hundreds of people (including all the Maul children and grandchildren) singing their hearts out, literally overflowing with God’s spirit, and overwhelmed with love.
But right now is why Jesus came. In this moment and to this family and for your family too.
2019 was then and this is now. The whole point of Christmas, and especially the concept of “Emmanuel,” is now. And by now I mean right now.
There is no spiritual benefit to nostalgia. Everything that means anything is wrapped up in the idea of The Incarnation. Emmanuel means “God with us.” Jesus is God with us.
When I join my brothers and sisters at Wake Forest Presbyterian Church, at this evening’s 7:00 worship experience on FaceBook Live-Feed, nostalgia for something I am not experiencing will be the last thing I need. What I need – what we all need – is God with us, God with me. I need the promise of the ages to be the reality of this moment.
I have no doubt that I will experience the same closeness with God’s spirit that I do when I walk in to the CLC packed with 500 people.
It still hurts:
I’m not minimizing the fact that I will miss the presence of people terribly, and I want those hugs in the best way possible. But Rebekah and I both know that you love us and we will be held in the warm embrace of that beautiful reality all evening.
But God, God with us, God who moves so far beyond the limiting, hobbling bounds of religious practice, the God of Abraham, Issac, Jacob, Jesus, Paul, Rebekah, and Derek. This God will not be hampered by the restrictions of living in this pandemic world of 2020.
“Joy to the World! The Lord is come! Let the Earth receive her King!” – DEREK