Yesterday during staff meeting Cydne Cochran reminded us of this truth as we tried troubleshooting the various changes that illness and weather have forced upon what we’d planned for Christmas services. 'Silent Night' was a contingency plan, the music written hours before, played by a single guitar when the organ would not work on Christmas Eve.
This week at First Congregational musical ensembles haven’t been able to practice together due to snow, and our organ wasn’t tuned for the same reason. Worship leaders have been felled by this tri-demic, and we may not be able to replace some of their particular gifts at this late date. Sharing services with Garden Street United Methodist Church has been a joy to prepare, but since our tech team members all live in the county (where snowplows are less active), we’re scrambling to ensure worship in the Bigger Balcony succeeds in the ways we’d hoped.
But I’ll remind us of another contingency plan: a manger as a cradle. A shed as a birthing room. An as-yet unwed couple taking a chance on God being with them throughout the myriad challenges they faced, because they’d said “yes” to the Divine.
Saying “yes” is an act of hope. You may need contingency plans of your own this year. You may say yes to Zoom-visiting friends this season instead of your typical open house. You may say yes to turning out the lights of your living room and burning a candle at midnight on Christmas Eve instead of attending an in-person service. You may say yes to wrapping a package with a note inside stating, “Christmas presents are extended a whole week this year! Expect another package next Saturday,” because something didn’t arrive in time.
There is so much unexpected in this life, but one thing I believe we can depend on is God-with-Us. This time of year reminds us of that truth with the name Emmanuel. And God is so gifted at contingency plans! Sometimes those even make the best stories and lead us to the best possibilities.
With Mary and Joseph and all those who’ve gone before, may we be open to saying “yes” to what God offers this Christmas.