This weekend, I attended Christmas in Christ Chapel, the annual worship service and concert at Gustavus Adolphus College. Over 350 student musicians presented performed beautiful music around the theme Ubuntu Jesu.
A good friend of mine, Pastor Grady St. Dennis, is a college chaplain and Director of Church Relations at Gustavus. During the worship/concert, Grady stepped into the lectern and read an amazing text that stirred my imagination and really has me thinking about Christmas in a new way. It’s actually a mash-up of two different writings. I wrote him to ask for a copy, which he gladly sent me (Thank you Grady!). I used it at our staff communion yesterday. Today, I’d like to share it with you here:
“All beings, organic and inorganic, living and inanimate, personal and impersonal, visible and invisible, act together to manifest the universal solidarity of creation… One can only remain healthy in a holistic sense, by living in harmony with the whole of creation.
But are we healthy? Are we in harmony with the whole of creation?
Even though we live in relative peace, there are many of us who also fear for the future having lost hope in a future of peace. And yet, is it not true that Jesus was born at a time when fear was rampant and hope a rare commodity? It was in the midst of an oppressive occupation that the angels sang their protest song “Peace on earth, goodwill to all.” It is, in fact, precisely because the world is in the mess it is, that the message of Christmas is so important.
To celebrate Christmas today as yesterday is an act of protest, an act of defiance against all the powers that are threatening our future, and that of our children and grandchildren… Every Christmas tree that we erect in our homes or churches or civic spaces is, rightly understood, an act of protest: of faith against despair, of love against hatred, of hope against hopelessness. That is what the celebration of Christmas is all about.”
(text by Benezet Bujo and John de Gruchy )