Ramblings: Christmas, Sleep, Beauty and Mission

Companions,

I've been listening to Lessons and Carols from Cambridge (O Come Let Us Adore Him!) and reading Tony Jones's repost of Chrysostom's Christmas sermon and reflecting on several things.

Christmastide and Mission
I hope these days for all of us and among the people with whom we serve in community will provide more opportunity for reflection, for pondering and seeing around us, the mystery of the Incarnation, than simply time off, or lots of time in "adjusting" gifts. May these days strengthen community for each of us.

Beauty and Mission
I am more and more convinced that beauty matters missionally. (Your convictions may vary!) Many of us who live on cultural or social or economic fringes by choice may also be tempted to downplay beauty as representing an investment in the powers that be. Call it the influence of Lessons and Carols if you will, but what I find is such beauty grants grace, hope, strength and generosity of spirit that overflows in and through the mission of God. So may we beautify as well as bring salt wherever we go.

Sleep and Mission
I've become over the years rather a curmudgeon about all the Christmas songs that tell infant Jesus to sleep or extol him for doing so, while I keep seeing Jesus calling us to wake up to the reality of God's reign (and judgment/mercy/justice) in our midst.

I don't back off from that perspective one bit, but I've come to see another one. We do need sleep, too. Too often sleep is associated with forgetting and escape, heavenly peace as a Christianized moniker for Lethe. But in reality, it is sleep that helps us remember. Sleep is part of the core filing process for our brains. Lack sleep and memory begins to fail. To be fully awake, we must sleep.

The NT never describes the infant Jesus sleeping. But what we who've had infants know in our bones is how fragile that sleep can be. They need it, and since theirs comes in smaller doses followed by cries that often disturb ours, we need them to get it, too.

So may we all sleep well that we may be awake!

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