One of the most quoted scripture passages are these words in Jeremiah 29:11 – “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Christmas is God coming to earth, taking on our very flesh, doing the most crazy thing possible to show us the fullness of God’s love. No other religion or tradition around the world has ever proclaimed a similar story. Because it’s too crazy, too amazing, too unimaginable that the God who created the universe, who made the stars and the planets, who breathed us out of dust, would come and live as one of us.
But here is Jesus saying, the one who created all of this for us, the one who sent his only Son into the world, the one who breathed us into life – doesn’t stay at a distance, doesn’t stay immune and safe from the messiness and troubles of this life.
It is important for us to give thanks and praise on Sunday mornings. But we can’t stop there. Our faith needs to be more than words, more than creeds, more than a ritual we undertake once a week. It needs to be active and life giving. It needs to be sharing and open. It needs to be risk-taking and fearless.
The lamps and oil Jesus speaks about in this parable are not fueled by fear, but by love. By welcome. By knowing the power of grace and the gifts of the Spirit.
The miracles of God may look different today than they did in Joshua’s day. But miracles are still happening in our church and in our world. God is still making a way.
According to Jesus, the way to peace, the way to joy, the way to fullness of life is in giving, not keeping.
God has promised to be there and be at work in everything that is to come. God’s mercy and justice and love will go with us. But it won’t always be easy to see and notice. Even Moses only gets a quick look as God is already moving past.
The good news for today is that all of us have been invited to the best party ever. To the best celebration. Whether you have thought of yourself as in or out, good or bad, religious or non-religious, God wants you there. Christ has made a way. There is a seat waiting for you.
No matter how rich or poor we become, in our world we are always told, “You don’t have enough.” We are always being pointed to the bigger house, the more far away vacation, the better brand car, the more illustrious school, the clothes that will make us fit in. We start living out of this fear of not having enough, and instead of enjoying the present, we fear the future, and we stop giving and sharing and working. We stop living for the kingdom, living for love, living for peace, living how Christ invites us to live.