Our city is crammed full of heaven. We are filled with more beauty and goodness than we know what to do with. Our cup runneth over.
Our cup runneth over on the Eastside, West End, North End, South Tacoma, Hilltop, Browns Point, Downtown, Old Town, Point Ruston, even on the Tide Flats.
There is nowhere we can flee God’s presence, not in Lakewood, or Parkland, or Fircrest, or University Place. The promise of the Incarnation is that we cannot not be in the presence of God. The whole world is a burning bush ablaze with God’s glory, and Tacoma is a cathedral full of grace, if we can only see it.
The birth of Christ reveals that God is Emmanuel—God with us. God is with us in all things, in all ways, always.
Yes, God is in all things, especially the things we want to dismiss, deny, suppress, or forget. The last place we look is the first place God shows up. Shockingly, God comes to us in the shape of our own lives, especially amidst the wreckage. In Christ, our wounds become wombs of new creation bearing seeds of new life.
This means that the hope of our city is not “out there” in Seattle, Portland, New York or San Francisco. It is “in here” among us, with us, within us, eager to be born. And like all good gifts from above, it is born from below. Yes, Word made flesh is love with skin. And love always seeks embodiment. It insists on the warmth and vulnerability of flesh that one day yields the terrible beauty of the cross.
Emmanuel is eager to be born, yet again in what Mother Teresa called the “distressing disguise of the other.” So, join the celebration and pray as we await the coming of our savior, Jesus the Christ.
The following reflections are written by Tacoma pastors who have met weekly for more than six years to practice preaching peace. They take the stained glass off the text and help us see good news from below. They are designed to be read, discussed and applied in community—as families, and in small groups, trusting that the Spirit reveals herself in and through relationship. Finally, these reflections help us accept our vocation as midwives to the holy, giving birth to a city of peace for all people.
O Come, O Come Emmanuel.