The Characters of Christmas
By: Rev. Hanna Peterson Shearer
“All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet; ‘The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel’ –which means ‘God with us’.” -Matt. 1:22-23
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…” so the song goes; but not because of the holiday greetings and snow on the ground. It is truly the most wonderful time because it reminds us of the fact that God came in the flesh and dwelt among us. Immanuel, God with us. This advent season we are exploring the Characters of Christmas to imagine what it was like for them when God was born and lived with us. We will look at Zechariah and Elizabeth and see their reaction to the news that they would finally have a son who grew to become John the Baptist, the one who prepared the way of the Lord. We will look at the person of Mary, the one who was chosen to bear the Christ child. We will look into the character and person of Joseph who stood by her and provided for this son that was God’s son. We will share the good news with the shepherds and the angels, imagine what it was like for the Innkeeper to find a place for them to stay, and when Mary and Joseph presented Jesus in the temple we will meet Anna and Simeon and hear their experience of meeting Immanuel, God with us. Finally, we will seek the new king along with the Magi and explore that painful part of the story of God’s coming to be with us.
I encourage you this Advent season to join us in worship. Explore the prophecies and the reactions of these Characters of Christmas. Draw near as we remember the birth of Immanuel – God with us. And be reminded that God is still with us. No matter what shocking, disturbing, or wonderful news we may receive, God is with us. Regardless of what difficulty or joy we are experiencing, God is with us.
God who is still with us, thank you for your presence in our lives. Thank you for the blessings you give. Thank you for your presence in our times of pain. Thank you for the stories of the first Christmas. May we grow in faith and wisdom through your word and in our worship. Amen.