Innkeeper, street vendor, wool weaver: all sleeping. Traveler, road watcher, bread baker: all dreaming. Carpenter, brick layer, clay potter: all dozing. Cold shepherd, star gazer, wise midwife: wide awake.
Young soldier, wise rabbi, landowner: all abed. Census staff, messengers, young children: all snoring. Important, powerful, the “normal”: they miss it. The outcast, the restless, the strange ones: they hear first.
Heartbroken, discarded, pushed away: still awake. Broken souls, groaning ones, frightened folk: open eyes. Mourning lives, empty chairs, lonely ones: let them see Christmas comes first for those who need the hope’s light most.
No tinsel, no label, no price tag: love comes down. For the lost, for the sad, for the hurt: love comes down. Through the tears, through the dark, through the grief: love comes down. Emmanuel, Prince of peace, Savior: Love and Light, Meet us here where we wait, wide awake and in need.
Rev. Robert Dean, Composed December 15, 2022; First Shared at Trumansburg UMC’s Blue Christmas Service December 21, 2022;
I don’t really have a Christmas tree desire this year. I love a good Christmas tree and have a lot of fond memories over the years, but this year I am probably not going to put up a tree. There’s a wreath by my garage door and I’ve got my ugly Christmas sweater game on point. No tree though.
Trees are for presents. Trees are for gifts. Trees are for family and I’m not the kind of pet owner who will put presents under the tree for my dog or the fish. I’m getting presents for others, but there’s really no need for a tree.
Instead, this is the year of the Advent Wreath. I’ve put together a really cheesy electric wreath from an inexpensive five candle window candelabra. Three dollars of cheap paint and putting the “wreath” on a smart switch: we’re good to go!
As you can see, cheap is the name of the game, but the other side of things is that it is meaningful to me. Each time I have seen the wreath since I have put it up, I have begun singing the Advent Song from The Faith We Sing: “Candle, candle, burning bright: shining in the cold winter’s night. Candle, candle, burning bright: fill our hearts with Christmas light.”
I don’t need presents. but I do need light. I don’t need wrapping paper, but I do need to be wrapped in hope. I don’t need a continual reminder that there’s nobody here, but I do need to see the light growing week after week.
What do I want for Christmas? Hope, love, joy, and peace. Burn candles, burn.