Advent – Saturday, Christmas Day

Author: Chad Hyatt

Isaiah 9:2-7

Reflection: v.6, ‘For a child has been born for us’

As usual, the children were laughing at jokes only they understood and devouring their meal like ravenous wolves. The after school program in Clarkston wound down towards a gently chaotic close. Outside drab clouds hung over another cold Fall day. While my students continued to tease and elbow each another in a good-natured battle for seconds and dibs on hot sauce, I sat to the side and picked up my guitar, strumming and humming, searching for a little melody I could hear beginning in my heart. My thoughts turned to an Advent that would soon be upon us and the Nativity it would lead us toward—and to this well-worn phrase of scripture. I have a little recording of it on my phone, a brief audio draft of the song idea taking shape. I treasure that short clip because it represents a moment of birth of sorts—and it comes replete with the joyful uproar of children just being themselves, safe and warm and fed. And most of all, loved.

As we celebrate this Christmas, the truth is grace is giving birth all around us. It is that same grace which saves us. But the grace that saves us isn’t some lovely thought or a hazy mystical abstraction—an idea of something good with no grounding in the real world. Grace comes to us in flesh and blood and moments and years. In the words of the song I began to write that day, such grace is fragile, like ‘a nursing child crying in the night.’ Grace has always called for our response, demanded our care. May another Christmas not come and go, along with primary color lights and spangly tinsel, and we not take a moment aside from it all to allow grace to give birth to something new in us, in our world.

Prayer Oh, Christ child, our hearts leap to contemplate your birth and shudder at the fragility of such wondrous, saving love. Lead us, oh gracious one, to marvel at every child—at every human—as the true tabernacle you choose as your holy dwelling place.

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