A couple of Sundays ago–the day of the Hanging of the Green–there were six babies in the house. Six! Michael at 8:30, and Devon, Maddie, and 3 first-time guests at 10:00.
Did you sense a different kind of energy that day? I sure did. Something is different when babies are present, isn’t there? The world looks different when you’re holding a baby. Church looks different when you’re holding a baby.
I know you think I don’t know about this, but some of you come to church JUST to see–and hold–the babies. Mm hmm. I’ve got a little notebook where I’m keeping a list.
Why keep a list of the Baby Brigade? Because you baby-mongers get it. You get what Advent and Christmas are all about. You get what God was doing when dreaming up this outlandish story of bringing salvation to the world through a helpless, mewling little baby.
If God wanted to change the world, it’s the adults who were going to need to change. What better way to change the adults, to challenge them to work hard to change the world into a more hopeful and just place, than to give them a child? Does anything motivate us more or make us more hopeful than trying to make the world a better place for children?
The baby Jesus story from Mary’s perspective is certainly engaging. We heard a little about that last week–Mary’s visit from Gabriel then her visit to her cousin Elizabeth, who also was pregnant.
Hearing the baby Jesus story from Joseph’s perspective…there’s something kind of earthy about it, the annoyance factor is more pronounced. He’s the one who will bear the brunt of the social stigma. Once she’s pregnant, Mary doesn’t really have a whole lot of choice in the matter. Joseph does. It would be so easy for him to fade out of the picture. Instead, he chooses to stay in the narrative…
Our choice on this fourth Sunday of Advent is similar to Joseph’s. We can admit to the lunacy of this story…it just doesn’t make sense. It’s counter-cultural to believe in this narrative… and yet, what might happen if we choose to stay in the story, even if we don’t understand it all?
Today as we listen to the music selected by the choir, I invite you reflect on Joseph’s role in the Christmas narrative…and your own.