December 27, 2023
So often, I wake up on Christmas morning in a sort of fog from the Christmas Eve experience. There have been years where I didn’t remember things very clearly, but this year was very different. Though we had four services and I preached three separate sermons, I felt more present in the experience than most years. Quite often, we clergy need to worship outside of the services where we are preaching and leading, as we are too focused on what comes next. Yet Sunday evening, at both services (very different services), I felt as if I were in the moment, even having worshipful experiences where I was unaware (for a few minutes) of what came next. The good part was that I did not have one of those moments where I was looking around wondering who was to speak next, only to realize that I was the one who missed my cue. I share this because, in retrospect, it sort of seemed to fit with the theme around unexpected happenings. As I shared at the 8pm service, we have made the unexpected feel very expected, even routine. Yet, let’s sit with the words from Luke 2:9: “The Lord’s angel stood before the shepherds, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified.” I don’t know about you, but I have been known to read those words like I’m reading a grocery list. “Let’s look here—we need four shepherds, some sheep, an angel, and some good ripe glory. I think that’s it.” Of course, the unexpected brought fear to the shepherds, while my unexpected brought both peace and joy. I guess I should not assume to know what to expect from the unexpected.
Your gospel of immeasurable and unconditional love, O God, is beyond unprecedented, yet we have too often confined it and reshaped it to fit a very measurable and conditional definition of love. Forgive us, and let us relinquish whatever anxiousness keeps us from being caught off guard, even stunned by the gifts you give. Amen.
Rev. Bruce Frogge