Our Advent Greeting
Again, seasonal greetings are in the news. Many “Merry Christmas” greetings will be forthcoming. Arlette Zimmerman would edit it to: “Blessed Christmas!” London-born Jo Ann might say, “Happy Christmas.” And most of us would try to be aware and bid a “Happy Hanukkah” to our Jewish neighbors. Let’s do so with meaning this year: The story of Hanukkah is preserved in the Apocryphal books of the First and Second Maccabees, which describe in detail the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem and the lighting of the menorah
. Making that greeting-with-meaning connection can start a blessed conversation about the Nativity of our Lord.
But that is not my point. The greeting of Advent has become a year-round church greeting, but its roots in Christian tradition are especially timely. The words of the angel at the annunciation to Mary, “The Lord is with you,” have become part of the Christian liturgy. In the Greek original, there is no verb. “The Lord with you” (Luke 1). For Mary it was declaratory: God was bringing His own Son into the world through her divine pregnancy. Indeed, Mary, the Lord is with you! Mary would sing later about this gracious presence of God in her life: “The Mighty One has done great things for me…” (Luke 1, later). In our mutual greeting, the verb becomes a prayerful wish: “The Lord be with you.”
Let us share this Advent greeting with renewed prayerful connection this year. Because the Son of God was born of Mary and took on flesh to give himself for us and the world and now lives and reigns, the Lord is with us. Truth. But Luther might say, “We pray in this greeting that we would realize God’s presence by faith.”
The Lord be with you,
Pastor Ray, and “Happy Christmas” from Jo Ann