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In the Stillness, We Remember

An Advent Reflection for Christmas Eve by Rev. Alicia Vela Anderson 

Lectionary reading for 012/24/2023: 2 Samuel 7:1-11,2 Samuel 7:16,Luke 1:46-55, Romans 16:25-27,Luke 1:26-38Selected passage for reflection: Romans 16:25-27


Read

Romans 16:25-27 FNV (First Nations Version)

I pray that the Great Spirit will make you stand strong and firm by my telling of the good story about Creator Sets Free (Jesus) the Chosen one. From the time before all days this message has been kept secret, but it has now been made clear. The Great Eternal One told his prophets to write this down in our Sacred Teachings, so that all nations would hear, put their trust in his good story, and follow all his ways. 


May the Great Mystery, from whom all wisdom comes, be honored through Creator Sets Free (Jesus) the Chosen one, to the time beyond the end of all days. May it be so!


Reflect 

Christmas Eve has always been my favorite holiday. In a season of busy that is often filled with people, especially in my seasons of pastoring, there is always a moment of quiet at the end of Christmas Eve that I have treasured. 


Some years, this quiet was by myself after a night of services and pastoral duties. A deep breath to celebrate making it through a high-demand season. Some years, this quiet was with dear friends I was pastoring with. We would have dessert after service and laugh together before catching our Christmas morning flights to our families of origin. Some years, this quiet was with my mom, after presents were wrapped for my nieces and everyone else had gone to bed. We’d sit by the tree and enjoy a rare moment of peace. More recent years, it was with my husband whether after a service or after being with family. And that one strange year, where it was just me and my new husband, dreaming of new rhythms of our blended traditions when we could return to seeing family.


In these little quiet moments, I am reminded of the greatness of God and this advent story we love to tell and retell. I think of all of the hope bestowed upon that small little newborn. Generations of prophecy were fulfilled in that baby, holding the legacy of God in his very body. On the first night of his life, the world was changed by the promise of the things he would do. Open the eyes of the blind, free those in prison, take on the burden so we could be free. The very embodiment of justice and righteousness started as a sleeping baby in the stillness of the night. 


On this Christmas Eve, we are all waiting on something. We all have hope and expectations on the great things God will do in our lives, even if we are unwilling or unable to speak them out loud yet. We are waiting for this peace - God’s Shalom and wholeness - to infiltrate our very lives, for God to make the unknown known. We may not know all, we may not understand all, but we have a God who holds us through the uncertain. 


As we continue the tradition of retelling this story of God’s goodness coming to earth, may we remember and take strength in this familiar story. God promised to pour out the love that we need, God gave us the gift of God With Us - Immanuel to walk alongside us.


Respond 

Take a moment tonight for yourself to be still. Wrap yourself in a blanket, pour yourself a favorite drink of the season, light a candle to remember the divine life that entered our chaotic world to bring us peace. Sit in the stillness as long as you are able and be strengthened by the story etched throughout history, of our God who hears the cries of our hearts and responds with an outpouring of love.


Rest 

Great Eternal One, come to us in the quiet of this night and remind us. Remind us of your light shining through the darkness. Remind us of the love you poured out on us when you sent your Son to show us the way. Give us a moment of peace in the midst of busy, slow our breaths in and out. May we breathe in your love in order to share it with those around us. Amen


About the Author 


Rev. Alicia Vela Anderson is the Associate Pastor of Formation at LaSalle Street Church in Chicago, IL. She is passionate about the formation of our kids and youth as we help them navigate their place in the church and the world around them. You can find her on social media @aliciavelaanderson 


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