Adele sings a song called "We Could Have Had it All." It is an expression of missing the mark in a relationship that didn't go as expected or desired. We can all connect with that since all of our human relationships have not gone perfectly. The same could be said about our relationship with God. All of us can attest to the many times we missed the mark when trying to reach the standard God has set for us. With human effort it is impossible ... but with God all things are possible. For with God, we can have "all of these."
During Advent we have practiced a tradition that has been around since the 16th Century. German Lutherans developed the idea of the Advent Wreath but the tradition didn't take current form until the 1800's when Rev. Johan Wichern, a pastor serving the poor in Germany, refined the idea. Following the old pattern we light four candles in expectation of the birth of Jesus. These candles represent love, joy, hope and peace, and they are all part of the light of the Christmas season. The last candle, lit on Christmas Eve, is the Christ candle, lit to celebrate the birth of Jesus ... in John's words, True God and True Light come into the world.
On Christmas Eve we will light the Christ candle and we will relight all of the candles on Christmas morning. We will (I hope and pray) be recognizing God's offer of "all of these things" (hope, love, joy, peace and Christ) in a world where these things are scarce. While we have missed the mark in accepting and appropriating all of these gifts into our lives and spreading them into the world, Jesus did not miss His mark. He has brought us all of these in Himself as the greatest gift of Christmas. This Saturday night at 7pm and this Sunday morning at 10am we will embrace each other ... embrace these gifts ... embrace Jesus as we sing about joy, peace, love, hope and Christ. The gifts of this world say we could have had it all, but that is one of the world's lies. In Christ we truly can have all of these. Thanks be to God! Randy