In 1985, a movie titled Back to the Future was released. In that movie, a scientist named Doc Brown created a time machine in which someone traveled back to 1955. In the second sequel to that movie, Doc Brown himself was transported back in time to 1885. While in the past, he fell in love with a woman. When things didn’t work out between them, and they broke up, he walked into a saloon, got drunk, and began to tell people that he was from the future.
I understand that you have spent Advent talking about Mary! Mary sang this. Mary sang that. What am I? Chopped liver? I was the one who kept the people of Nazareth from stoning Mary when they found out she was “with child” during our engagement period. I was the one who risked my reputation by stating publicly that I would still take Mary as my wife, and her child as my own. I was also the one who got her to Bethlehem. It wasn’t Hertz or Avis. It was me. And it wasn’t a cute little donkey she rode. It was a mean old mule who had no intention of walking as far as I made him walk. If you think that was easy, try pulling a mule 80 miles sometime.
One of our members recently posted a note on Facebook saying that Santa was going to have to come in the front door this year because repairs were being made to their chimney. Another one of our members shared how their child once said they had proof that Santa existed. When they asked about that proof, the child said they knew Santa had to exist “because you’re too cheap to buy me all these presents.” In reflecting on their own childhood, that parent then wondered why it was that Santa only watched when they were bad. After all, they said, “I never remember being told that Santa was watching when I did good things. Only when I did bad things.”
Two weeks ago, we began an Advent worship series based on a song recorded in Luke that historically has been titled “The Magnificat.” According to Luke, these words were sung by Mary in response to the proclamation of the angel Gabriel that God would enable her to become pregnant despite the fact that she was not yet married. As I introduced the worship series that first week, I shared how shortly after I began seminary, my mother passed away. I also shared how shortly after that, I became responsible for supporting my 16 year old sister, and how her coming to live with me required that I move from Philadelphia to West Chester.
When our son Stephen was young, he was in Cub Scouts. At each level, I was his Den Leader. After a den meeting one night, he and his friends were running around in the fellowship hall of a church as the adults were cleaning up. The boys were told several times to stop running. Each time they were told to stop running, they were also told that we wanted them to stop running because we were concerned that someone was going to get hurt. Lo and behold, a few minutes later Stephen fell, hit his face on the floor, and broke off the bottom half of a front tooth.