Recently I read the story of an incident on the elevator of a large department store in which the holiday shopping was in a frenzy.  A much-beleaguered mother, dragging her two screaming children and loaded down with many boxes and bags, crammed herself and her young ones into the already crowded elevator


Recently I read the story of an incident on the elevator of a large department store in which the holiday shopping was in a frenzy.  A much-beleaguered mother, dragging her two screaming children and loaded down with many boxes and bags, crammed herself and her young ones into the already crowded elevator. With a large sigh of frustration she said aloud:  “Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be found, strung up and shot!” From the rear of the elevator a quiet calm voice said, “Don’t worry, we already crucified him!”  The remainder of the elevator trip down was in total silence.
We mustn’t condemn the young mother!  How many of us have silently felt her desperation.  Christmas can be a heavy burden. But more importantly we must always remember the “calm voice” of truth.  That innocent tiny baby, whose birth we celebrate, was Immanuel, God with us!  In the power of God He grew up to confront all the powers of this world….and the world, though created through Him, refused to receive Him, totally rejected Him, and finally crucified Him.  The world could never allow such total love to run amuck. It had to bury Him.  Every crèche set should be shadowed by the crucifix.
Sadly, as the young mother experienced, the world continues its attempt to bury the love of God beneath the foolishness of man. The generic “Christmas” has overwhelmed the “mass for Christ,” and the loving word of God is drowned out by the pitch of the huckster.  Nevertheless, even to this day, He still comes to those who will receive Him.
My Advent prayer for everyone is that during this season of frenzied preparation for the “holidays,” we remember the truth that the world could not bury Him when first it tried, and it still cannot bury the love of God in Christ.  The baby Jesus that “started this whole thing “was the beginning of God’s conquest over sin and death that set all men free from guilt, shame and fear.  The One “who started this whole thing” rose from the dead and is alive, and still is Immanuel: God with US!  The world has yet to learn that with Jesus, you just can’t keep a good man down.
May you have a holy Advent, and a glorious Christ-mass.  Ultimately Jesus is all that truly matters: "Oh come let us adore Him."

Agape and shalom….in Jesus’ name

Fr. Bob Layne (Episcopal priest- retired)
McPherson, Kansas