Some Assembly Required

by admin on January 14, 2014

Reflections for Christmas Eve 2013
Luke 2

Ahhh, Christmas Eve. The night of nights! This is the night, as many of us know that strikes terror and fear into the hearts of mortals. Soon we will leave this place, with its warm memories and embark on an all night journey into dark.

Few who take this frightening trip survive untouched or unscathed. Soon we will be sitting in the living room, the downstairs workshop or huddled out in the garage.

Loneliness, fear, cold shivers will descend and we will be face to face with some massive cardboard box from Toys R Us, Sears and Roebuck, Wersell’s bikes. All of them emblazoned with the three most horrible and terrifying words in the English language: Some Assembly Required.

Dawn will be breaking tomorrow and we’ll still be on step one. Some assembly required: it always means: missing pieces, special tools, incomprehensible instructions.

When we sit dumbfounded at 3 tomorrow morning, lets remember the soft glow of this moment.
—a scared young mother has a baby.
—the OB unit is a cold barn
—some strangers show up with their sheep
And in it all—–God is there.

You don’t have to imagine too much how down home and real Jesus’ birth must have been. A real life story for real life people

Frankly, I do get scared when I read “some assembly required.” My luck says there will always be some pieces missing, or a special tool needed that I can’t get at Sears; or the instructions are printed in Chinese.

It used to be dollhouses that baffled me; now it’s the warning on the site that says, “information invalid.”

Doll houses, computers, pieces and parts—the stuff of real life for real life people. Some assembly is required.

The missing pieces in our lives are more than just a few loose screws. They are a string of sad events and broken promises that have become our second nature. We hide behind airs of superiority, condescension and know it all arrogance.

Or we stand in the venerable tradition of being a victim because it’s everyone else who’s causing my problems.

Very few of us have ever been taught, or much less been willing to listen for the tools of living.

So we think defensiveness, passing the buck or yelling when we don’t get our way is the mark of leadership. Is it any wonder that we need a couple of shots, a couple of hits, a couple of snorts just to get through the holidays?

And what about those instructions printed in Chinese? Incomprehensible. There are so many experts out there, each plying a different slant of on life.
How to win big in poker
How to beat Wall St.
How to make your wife the best mate yet.
You can’t buy a mixer without hearing some experts telling you to buy theirs. Whose incomprehensible instructions are you listening to?

Some assembly required. Mary has a baby. It’s just another kid born down in the ghetto. A real life story for real life people. Mary ponders, the shepherds wonder and the angels sing “glory.” They are tonight assembling the greatest story ever heard: God is here.

We’ve come here tonight as real life people. With all the capacities and wonders that make us so. And we’ve brought our missing pieces, too.

Some assembly IS required if we want to leave here fully human and fully alive. The great good news of Christmas is that all our missing pieces are found. They are found as we discover that God’s love is large enough to include even the biggest Grinch we know: like ourselves for starters.

And the special tools that are needed aren’t so exotic and mystifying after all. They are simply faith, hope and love.

And those incomprehensible instructions: the simple path of God flowing through you to love others.

Tonight: a new mom and dad; a pair of animals, some simple men—and a baby: God is there.

Tomorrow: Christmas 2013 dawns on a new world. Know that Jesus Christ, the boy left in straw is God at your door. God is here, giving you the greatest life you’ll ever live.

Merry Christmas. I love you.

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