Today we celebrate with families and friends, lighting candles and singing "Silent Night" in that amber-orange glow that makes even the most worn faces look like angelic beings here for a visit. We wish with every breath that our lives would resemble the life of the Christ child wailing in the manger on this night (or some night between now and February, I'm not going to battle over this) who even in His cooing was nudging the universe to say, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty - who was and is and is to come." (see Revelation 5)

With that in mind, we take the posture of welcome. Get out the good, inherited gravy boat and the little-used tablecloth and set a place for the Child of Wonder - the infant King wielding the world-altering power of grace in every tiny breath taken through the straw that night in Bethlehem.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer has words for welcome, so I defer to him on this:

"...we are faced with the shocking reality: Jesus stands at the door and knocks, in complete reality. He asks you for help in the form of a beggar, in the form of a ruined human being in torn clothing. He confronts you in every person that you meet. Christ walks on the earth as your neighbor as long as there are people. He walks on the earth as the one through whom God calls you, speaks to you and makes his demands. That is the greatest seriousness and the greatest blessedness of the Advent message. Christ stands at the door. He lives in the form of the person in our midst. Will you keep the door locked or open it to Him?"

From Watch For the Light: Readings For Advent and Christmas.

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