“I’ll Be Home For Christmas” is one of the most popular Christmas songs. It was first sung in 1943 by Bing Crosby and, according to Billboard Magazine, there are about 80,000 versions of the song. St. Elizabeth’s invites you to look beyond the typical understanding of this nostalgic song to witness in it the presence and power of God.
Our world today is filled with fear and dread on many levels. There are ongoing wars in Europe, the Middle East, and throughout the African continent, and tensions are rising in the Caribbean basin. Women and children of every race and culture are on the frontlines being used and abused by evil, egotistic men.
Based upon cries being heard in preparation for the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC COP 28), we hear that our world is facing a multitude of environmental existential threats. Icebergs are melting at apocalyptic proportions. Many communities are struggling with rapid swings from dangerous heat levels and fires to overwhelming floods. Migrants are fleeing their homes at records levels due to political and environmental turmoil. Churches, like many other social institutions, are struggling to ascertain its place in this strange new milieu. Singing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” may sound hollow and irrelevant amid these ongoing spaces of brokenness and homelessness.
And yet the prophetic wind of God has often travelled through the currents of despair. It has always sung hymns of hope defiantly in the face of overwhelming despair. It has always injected a presence of joy when the world faced fear.
The Science Channel recently shared a fascinating story:
“Super high energy particle falls to Earth; its source is a mystery.
Even a big event like a supernova would be nowhere near powerful enough to produce particles like this, and the particle seemed to come from an empty area of space on the edge of the Milky Way called the Local Void. It is the second most powerful cosmic ray ever detected, only beaten out by one detected in 1991 which was named the Oh-My-God particle. The strange thing about these events is that the researchers have no idea where they are coming from. These events seem like they’re coming from completely different places in the sky. They are struggling to locate and understand the mysterious source.” (Excerpted from the journal Science in May 2021.)
For us as Christians, the Nativity is such a mystery. Singing angels, brown homeless people depending upon animals for hospitality, migrants and underpaid workers communing with a homeless family to witness the unfolding of a mystery. It’s a mystery of three renown astrologers tracking an ancient “Oh-My-God” particle leading them to a mystery child. Christianity is unique in believing in the power of the incarnation: God becoming human. Christianity is God boldly declaring to the brokenhearted, fear-filled communities and fearful environmentalists not to lose faith because “The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.”Ps.24
Join us at St. Elizabeth’ s during this holy season as we celebrate the mystery of God’s love for his world. I’ll be home for Christmas. Please come home to St. Elizabeth’s to enrich our celebrations.