First United Methodist Church
Sunday, September 21, 2014
One of my mother’s favorite television shows is the BBC’s The Vicar of Dibley, which follows the life and adventures of the first female priest in a fictional little village in England. In one of the show’s Christmas specials that I watched as a rerun, the parish hosts a carol-writing competition with the winning new carol to be sung at the Christmas Eve service. Whenever I have watched, I have found it to be a good show, but I thought this episode was wonderful.
In what tends to be typical fashion for the eccentric little town, the winner had crafted a song that described the birth of Jesus in detail – from ‘coming down the birth canal’ to the cutting of the umbilical cord. The song is hilarious because we would never consider it appropriate to reflect upon the messy details of birthing in a Christmas sermon or traditional carol. And yet, there is something remarkably profound in the inappropriateness. For it is through the ‘common’ miracle of childbirth, the pain of labor, the cry of a newborn, that God offers us salvation.
Through the person of Mary, the Word has become flesh. This mystery of the incarnation, of God being with us, is, in one sense, absurd. However, it is also deeply beautiful and worthy of our praise and thanksgiving.
The Celtic Christian tradition invites us to look for God by looking more deeply into the small and great wonders of life. When Christmas comes, I hope that we look intently for the mystery and wonder of Jesus’ birth, for the beauty of this world that God creates anew each day, and for those moments of incredible and profound absurdity!
Peace and love,