Jim Harnish

Christmas in the Chaos


Christmas in the Chaos

Do you feel that we are attempting to celebrate Christmas in the middle of social and political chaos?

Marco Rubio got it right when he called Donald Trump “a chaos candidate” and predicted that he would be “a chaos President.”  Whether you agree with him or not, the daily (sometimes hourly) tweets and impulsive behavior of this President are the perfect match for the 24-hour cable TV news chatter that reinforces the chaotic pace of life in our technologically frenetic time.

My friend, Stephen Bauman lives and serves in the vortex of the chaos as Senior Pastor at Christ Church United Methodist in the heart of New York City. In this week’s devotions in The Upper Room Disciplines he wrote:

Wow!  Is it ever hard to cut through the clutter and noise and info bits and videos and pics and whatnot and hooha! We find it hard to sit still, quietly, intentionally, prayerfully, allowing ourselves the holy luxury of spiritual perplexity…Our time consumed by many trifles, we leave little in reserve for the things that matter most of all hiding in plain sight but lacking the snap-crackle of Instagram and Snapchat flicking across our consciences like a stone skipping on the water.

Phillips Brooks captured the deep truth that we could easily miss when he wrote:

How silently, how silently,
the wondrous gift is given;
so God imparts to human hearts
the blessings of his heaven.
No ear may hear his coming,
but in this world of sin,
where meek souls will receive him, still
the dear Christ enters in.

A Moment for Mystery 

So, here’s my invitation for you to take a seven-minute moment to experience the “holy luxury” of mystery by watching the choir of King’s College, Cambridge, sing “O Magnum Mysterium”.  The words are translated:

O great mystery,
and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the new-born Lord,
lying in a manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb
was worthy to bear
our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

But the words don’t matter as much as creating a quiet space to allow the presence of Christ to enter into the chaos of our lives.

May you experience Christ in the chaos this Christmas!

Grace and peace,