Holy Jesus, help us to take our place at the center of your love and to see the impossible as not only possible, but already done.

When I get past the romanticism of the Christmas narratives, I see Mary, Joseph, Elizabeth and Zechariah as real people living in a real and painful world, doing incredible things with courage while at the same time being anxious and bewildered. I see them as human beings, not superheroes—just regular people like you and me, committed to their faith without a clue to how things will turn out.

They experienced the impossible made possible in real time. I wonder how many times we have done that as well without even recognizing. And while our scale of things might seem much smaller by comparison, we often live in the miraculous nonetheless.

The dream of an old barren couple to have a child is long appearing, and yet the dream does come true in God’s time. A young virgin finds favor, which meant that her plans for structure and predictability were interrupted in order to do God’s new thing. Joseph her betrothed also participates, because that’s what good people do. They stay the course even when they don’t fully understand and doing so is difficult. The dusty old shepherds, the absolute least of all, also experience something holy while doing their regular ordinary job keeping watch over the flocks by night. The cast of characters is incredible— angels, innkeepers, rulers, magi, even donkeys and stars.

I enter these stories in a new way this year and am humbled to do so, for I see myself among them. None could have imagined where their lives would take them, but most trusted God and their faith bore them up.

Can we also trust God with our hopes and dreams, plans, strengths as well as weaknesses, and lives, even when it makes no sense at all—perhaps especially then?

This is the invitation, the true magic of this season: to be open to the love, awe, and wonder of God breaking in on us in the real-world day after day. It requires a measure of faith, to say the least, but it truly is amazing what a little faith can do.

Grace and peace,
Pastor Cathy