Rejoice Anyway!

My Dear Siblings in Christ,
In this season of long nights and short days, in this season of pandemic, it is understandable, normal even, that the joy and peace of Christmas feel a little….remote. Can we really sing “Joy to the World” this year? 
Without trivializing or dismissing any of the pain, the loneliness, the grief, the trauma, we may individually and collectively be experiencing, I want to say yes. Yes we can, even now.
I want to say yes along with Mary, a fiercely bewildered young woman who said yes to God’s impossible invitation. I want to say yes along with the shepherds whose routine was disrupted by the cries of angels and who, despite their confusion and fear, said yes and ran to the manger. I want to say yes along with the Wise Ones who, without knowing what they were looking for left their lives behind and persisted in seeking the Child. I want to say yes along with Joseph who got way more than he bargained for when he asked Mary to marry him. I want to say yes along with the angels who, despite possibly being really nervous about God’s plan to enter the world as a baby, sang loud songs of praise and joy. Each character in the story of Jesus’ birth was saying yes, anyway. Was rejoicing anyway. Their world was far from perfect. Their lives were far from perfect. Their world was a mess.  And yet they said yes. And they rejoiced.
This year, the world is a mess. And this year we can still say yes to God’s resounding yes to us. Yes, God says, I love you. Yes, the light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot even comprehend it. Yes, I am with you always—God in 7 pounds of human flesh, a helpless baby. All we have to do is pick this baby up, cradle him in our arms, and take him into our lives. All we have to do is say yes and rejoice, anyway.
Joy to the world. Alleluia! Alleluia!

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