Thursday, December 10, 2020

Baptize: #AdventWord Day 12

I lit this candle for the first time last night. These symbols were presented to my parents when I was baptized in the Lutheran Church; I have held onto them since I was a kid. I am not sure why I never lit the candle before yesterday. While I would love to say the first light was a hauntingly holy moment, it was rather ordinary. In my basement office with computer cables in the backdrop, an old couch, and a small window with cobwebs needed to be vacuumed away, the wick only held the flame for a few seconds and then fizzled out. 

I guess 37 years in waiting is a long time to expect much more. 

Advent isn’t always a time when we think of our baptism...but maybe we should. After all, the incarnation is God’s baptism into the fullness of humanity, in all the ordinariness and brokenness, mystery and confusion, chaos and wonder, goodness and despair. The story of Christmas is when we celebrate God’s claim on the universality of human life by becoming human life. We remember the holiness of life is not in perfected sentimentality or over-filtered moments; holiness is in the every day and the ordinary, the unrefined and disheveled. You do not achieve holiness. Holiness is God’s gift and is found when a little one is sprinkled with tap water before the community of faith or an adult is submerged in a creek just beyond the muddy water’s edge. The sacred is encountered when a childhood candle is lit for the first time in 37 years in an unfinished basement in the middle of a pandemic as a memory of God’s love and grace...and then flickers out, only to be lit again and again.  Wherever you are this Advent, remember your baptism. Remember you are God’s beloved. Maybe even consider baptism for the first time.