Advent and Christmas arrive with a sense of anticipation and wondering what this year will bring. Indeed, like many of you, one of my childhood memories on Christmas Eve and morning was being handed a brightly colored package with my name on it and having no idea of what lay inside. A Christmas gift wrapped in ribbon and paper and waiting under the tree, invites mystery.
In our family, before opening a gift, often another family member would prod the recipient to speculate on the gift’s contents: “Are you going to eat it? Hang it on your wall? Wear it? Play with it? Share it with us?” Such questions served to heighten a child’s excitement and peak everyone’s curiosity. Of course, as a way of deducing the mystery, we might hold the gift in our hands to feel its weight or shake it up and down and side to side, hoping the rattling noise within will give us a clue.
What could it be? What is this unique gift meant for you and me?
This year, during the Advent and Christmas season, every Sunday morning, as we come to worship God, we will immediately see a mysterious gift sitting on the Communion Table. And every Sunday, there will be a different gift inside meant for us to take home. Four Sundays of Advent! Four gifts to remind us again of the meaning of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel and ransom captive Israel!” But more so, a gift to guide and inform our Christian spirituality as we seek the star over Bethlehem: a gift of love, a gift of challenge, a gift of growth and a gift of joy.
Then on Christmas Eve night, there will be one more gift for us to open: the gift of new birth. Come and join us for the season of Advent and Christmas at Westminster as we unwrap the gifts of the Spirit and leave each Sunday praising God: “Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace on earth to all people.” (Luke 2:14)