This Sunday we celebrate the joy which the revelation of the Christ child brings to our lives.
How fitting that our children will lead us!
I looked at the windows in our sanctuary with this in mind and kept coming back, with some curiosity, to the descending dove.
As the central image in the window above the high altar, the dove occupies a principle place in the space and, thus, in our theology of worship. The dove represents the Holy Spirit, as described specifically in the narrative of Jesus’ baptism. As we look outward in either direction from this quintessential moment in the narrative, however, we perceive a recurring motif that, throughout the history of God’s relationship with the Creation, the Holy Spirit is the person who accomplishes communion between of the transcendent and the immediate, the spiritual and the temporal, the divine and the human: “In the beginning, when God began to create…the Spirit hovered over the face of the deep.” Placed as the image is above the high altar, it prompts us to realize that we are part of the ongoing narrative of God’s creative and redemptive acts. When we gather on the Lord’s Day, our confession, praise, and prayers ascend to the Creator, and the Spirit of Life reaches out to us in response with forgiveness, love, and peace. The descending dove reminds us each week of this spiritual correspondence. When it comes to the Advent of Jesus Christ, we find the Spirit at the heart of all things. It is by the power of the Spirit that Mary makes incarnate the Living Word in her human womb. It is by the Spirit that Zechariah prophesies about his son, John. It is by the Spirit that Elizabeth confesses her faith in Mary’s unborn child. It is in the power of the Spirit that Joseph discerns the meaning of his dream. In short, because of the work of the Holy Spirit, a light shines in the darkness of human history. The hope, love, joy, and peace which fill our cups to overflowing as we behold the Son of God are the gifts of the Spirit as well. In the darkness of each of our lives, may we know the fullness of joy made possible by the Spirit of the Living God, descending with power and grace to set in motion the ministry of Jesus, the Christ: by whom, for whom, and through whom all things were made and are reconciled to God. Praise be to thee, Spirit of Eternal Joy, as it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be unto the eternal ages!