Today the fourth Advent candle shone with Love “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 16
Tuesday evening, Christmas Eve we will celebrate the birthday of Christ and the promise of redemption and renewal for all peoples.
Juanita introduced us to the concept of Dayenu, a song that is sung as part of the Jewish celebration of Passover. It’s approximate meaning is “it would have been enough for us”. The song is about being grateful to God for all of the gifts given to us, where any one gift would have been sufficient ‘Dayenu’ more are given to us.
Christ’s Mass is the Christian world's ‘Dayenu’ song. With Christ’s birth the doors of heaven were open to all people and God’s love encompassed the world, an answer to the Psalmist lament:
Psalm 80: 1-71 Hear us, Shepherd of Israel, you who lead Joseph like a flock. You who sit enthroned between the cherubim shine forth 2 before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh. Awaken your might; come and save us. 3 Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved. 4 How long, Lord God Almighty, will your anger smolder against the prayers of your people? 5 You have fed them with the bread of tears; you have made them drink tears by the bowlful. 6 You have made us an object of derision[b] to our neighbors, and our enemies mock us. 7 Restore us, God Almighty; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved.
The events leading up to the birth of Christ are a story of:
- Oppression: Mary and Joseph were far from their home on the night of Christ’s birth, ordered to do so that the number of Jews in the Roman Empire might be known and taxed.
- Fatigue: they were tired from their walk from Nazareth to Bethlehem a journey on foot of approximately 90 miles.
- Hunger: they would have had little in provisions and to purchase food on the way expensive and scares to Jews
- Loneliness: Bethlehem was Joseph’s birth place and we are told he knew no one there anymore.
- Begging: Joseph was reduced to pleading with inn keepers for shelter and
- Homelessness: the only place for them was in a stable with the animals.
Our romantic remake of the birth of Christ has diminished the strength of the stable message. God's gift was not given to the middle and wealthy classes alone. God's gift of love, Christ, was given to the oppressed, tired, hungry, lonely and homeless as well and in equal measure.
Juanita read A Teachable Moment in the Nativity Scene and asked us to expand our understanding of who should be at Christ's Mass. Who we share God's Christmas gift with: who are our brothers and sisters in God are.
'Dayenu’ God’s gift at this Christ’s Mass is enough and yet God gives us so much more each day.
Laverty, J. (2013, December 22). God is with us -have a blessed Christmas!. Hanover , Ontario: Hanover Mennonite Church.