December Reverend Reflections

Hello First Presbyterian Church,

During this season of Advent we are preparing ourselves to celebrate the birth of Christ (his first advent) while simultaneously anticipating his return to judge the world in equity and righteousness (his second advent). 

In our celebration of Jesus’ birth, we often overlook the loss he suffered in that event. It was a great gain to us, but to him it was a sacrifice. The Son of God was now, in some mysterious way, constrained by flesh. The cross is often the place we point as representative of Jesus’ suffering, but perhaps the manger should be as well. It is a thought worth contemplating this Advent season. Consider the immense love that must’ve motivated the boundless and free Son of God to come to us in the flesh

In order to facilitate your contemplation of this beautiful truth, I want to share with you a poem from the great John Donne. I have preserved the old English in the version copied below, but that unfamiliarity will hopefully force you to read more slowly and consider more deeply the love of Christ on Christmas morning.

The whole life of Christ was a continuall Passion;
     others die Martyrs, but Christ was born a Martyr.
He found a Golgotha (where he was crucified) even in Bethlehem, where he was born;
     For, to his tenderness then, the strawes were almost as sharp as the thornes after;
          and the Manger as uneasie at first, as his Crosse at last.
His birth and his death were but one continuall act,
     And his Christmas-day and his Good Friday,
          are but the evening and morning of one and the same day.

                                                                         —John Donne

Grace and peace,
Jonathan +