On the mind of the Rev. Adrian Dannhauser

Dec 18, 2023

The pre-Christmas lull is almost here. The time a few days before Christmas when things actually get quiet at the church, relatively speaking.

Over the past week or so, we have experienced the glorious whirlwind of the Christmas Fair, Children’s Christmas Pageant, Lessons and Carols (watch here if you missed it!), the Parish Christmas Party, a 20s/30s Group Gathering, the “One Little Candle” service project at Moravian Open Door, and final collection of Operation Santa gifts. Add in our regular worship, mission, and Christian formation offerings, and your head might start spinning like mine!

There is still much to do this week in preparation for Christmas and otherwise — pastoral visits, music rehearsals, drafting service leaflets, Vestry and other church committee meetings, the list goes on. But come Thursday, most of the leg work is done, the number of daily emails I receive has slowed, and I expect to be quietly sermonizing in my office.

This past Saturday, Bishop Matt Heyd told me that he finds preaching Christmas to be difficult. We were at Moravian Open Door for “One Little Candle,” assembling care packs for people experiencing street homelessness. I know what the Bishop means. The Christmas story is so familiar that it can be hard to find a fresh take.

Fortunately for us, we were treated to an impromptu sermon from the Executive Director of MOD, Susan Attzs-Mendoza, who is an ordained minister herself. Susan led everyone in a few Christmas carols after assembly of the packs and before lunch arrived. One was Susan’s favorite, “Do you hear what I hear?”

When Bishop Heyd asked why it was her favorite, Susan answered that the Good News of Christ’s birth travels from nature (the night wind), to the animals (a little lamb), to a shepherd boy, to a mighty king. Then the king proclaims:

“Listen to what I say!”

“Pray for peace, people everywhere!”

“Listen to what I say!”

“The Child, the Child, sleeping in the night”

“He will bring us goodness and light”

“He will bring us goodness and light”

What Susan loves is the evangelistic nature of it all. In fact, there is no way to keep this Good News under wraps. All of creation proclaims the miracle of the Incarnation. We need only to listen, says Susan.

Susan is right, and the world has heard. Jesus was born in a tiny, miniscule land two millennia ago. His earthly ministry was a mere 3 years. Yet, his birth divides the centuries – BC, Before Christ; AD, Anno Domini, the year of our Lord. One minute of one day does not go by that millions are not praying to him and worshiping him.

Is that not miraculous? Perhaps there is no need for a fresh take on Christ’s birth. Just a return to Scripture as the gathered community and a reminder that this faith we believe and practice is grounded in God’s goodness and light that reaches to the ends of the earth.

As many parishioners have told me over this past week, being involved in the life of the church “makes it feel like Christmas.” I couldn’t agree more, and for all the head-spinning flurry of the season, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Thank you, Incarnation, for incarnating God’s love. As we make our way to the manger, may you feel the light of Christ burn in your heart with comfort and joy.