The Miracle that Defines our Faith

Welcome to the Lent of St. Martin! Yes, that was the original name for Advent way back in the fifth century. It was sometimes called the Fast of St. Martin because, well, they were big on fasting back then. In fact, there really wasn’t a Christian religious observance that didn’t involve some kind of fasting!

So feel free to stop eating for the next four weeks if you’d like, though I wouldn’t recommend it. That really isn’t where we place emphasis in our tradition. Advent, for us, is much more about preparing our lives for the incarnation—the birth of Christ at Christmas—in ways that don’t require self-denial.

With the ever-increasing secularization of this biggest holiday of the year, Advent becomes an extremely important time to remember that Christmas isn’t just about shopping, decorating, and yes, eating. It is fundamentally about the miracle that defines our faith: That God became human in Jesus Christ.

That event changed everything. God is no longer removed from the human experience. Instead, God is deeply immersed in it. Through Christ, God knows your highest highs and your lowest lows. God knows the joy of celebrating and the pain of crucifixion. The bottom line? There is nothing you can experience in this life where God is absent.

Christmas says that God is forever present with you. And that presence isn’t one that judges and condemns. It is one that heals and empowers.

There are many things that happen during Advent to help us prepare for the enormity of this truth. The Advent candles that we light on the wreath in the Sanctuary each week remind us of Christ’s light in the darkness. Advent calendars help us mark the days and tell the story. The songs we sing, the prayers we pray, the mission work we do—all of it is there to keep us grounded and bring us back again and again to the wondrous, joyous, inescapable, too-good-to-be-true-but-it-is miraculous reality that God is one of us in Jesus Christ!

Not only is this cause for celebration, it is also the means by which we live through the hardships of life. For me, there would be no way to handle the loss of loved ones, the injustices of our society, war, the climate crisis, mass shootings, and humanity’s capacity to be inhuman without Christmas (and Easter).

The incarnation at Christmas says that we are not alone in this universe. In fact, just the opposite. We are accompanied and a better way is possible. The biggest catastrophes in this world are dwarfed by God’s infinite compassion.

Please join us for worship during Advent. It is a great way to own this truth for yourself.

See you in church,
–Rev. Dominic