It is a pure joy and honor to be gifted the opportunity to experience the culture and beauty of another country. I had been to Mexico once before and fell in love with the people, the atmosphere and the absolute wonders of the countryside. The rainbow of colors of the plants and flowers; it’s almost too much. As if God and nature just lost control and threw it all out there without any rhyme or reason but only to see just how many colors they could create. Such vibrancy; it would be understandable were someone to say it is overwhelming. I have to admit; I was beginning to believe that our cold, upper Midwestern winters had somehow muted my sense of sight, (could it be that I’m simply getting older?) These colors are unlike anything I’ve seen before. Then again, in time and due season, I shall savor our spring flowers and take in the beauty and bold, blood red of a blooming rose or the bursts of purple, orange and yellow of a climbing clematis. And I will gaze at our St. Nicholas gardens come late summer and early autumn and marvel at the beauty of the mums and the awesome display of hues and shades and I’ll swear I’ve not seen colors such as these.
Yes: all things in due time and all things have a season. As a Church, we remain in the season of Advent. We are about to enter the fourth and final week of this holy season. This weekend we light the last of our four candles. The entire wreath will glow and the feast of the Nativity will be that much closer. This glorious and joyful scene will be played out in every church that has an Advent wreath, in every house of worship that is waiting, anticipating and expecting the joyful news. Regardless where we are; whether in the warmth of Mexico or in the chill of the Midwest, we celebrate what is just, right and good and we do so with excitement and joy.
Perhaps it is because of my Michigan upbringing that Christmas, cold and snow are synonymous. They are supposed to go together, right? Not so in the tropic: for snow there is the sand that blows at will and the cold is the ice that gently slides down the frosted glasses. Still, we — the good people in Mexico, the good people in the north and all Christians the world over — await the birth of the Lord. We anticipate with excitement and glee the bells that will ring to herald the New Born King.
I read recently a quote of the Scottish playwright J.M. Barrie, something that seemed rather well-timed and which I’d like to share with you now: “God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.” Ah yes, to recall the beauty of such as a rose in the bleak, cold midwinter truly gives our hearts and souls pause for joy and peace.
Yes, the world waits. Whether in the cold of the north or the balmy breezes of the south, we all await the birth of Jesus. To celebrate the anniversary of Jesus’ entry into our world just as we have been celebrating for over 2000 years. All things in due time and in their season.