Oh, the majesty and magnificence of God's presence! Oh, the power and splendor of his sanctuary! . . . Mary wrapped him in swaddling clothes and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

After Advent's four weeks of preparation for God's coming, of learning again what it means to live lives predicated on hope in God, the time has come. We are expecting the arrival of our Savior. As always, God takes us by surprise. Majesty and magnificence are encompassed in swaddling clothes; God's splendid sanctuary is a manger-of-last-resort.

God who risked all
and as a child
in Bethlehem cried in the dark and cold.
God is with us,
from heaven to earth see the story unfold.
The Word made flesh in a manger is laid,
see, in a baby, God's glory.

Do not be afraid, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people.