One of the wonderful things about the Christmas season is the way it re-introduces us to such interesting people. And it’s not limited to friends and family: some of the most memorable re-introductions come from the surrounding culture. Who can suppress a warm smile at their first yearly sighting of Santa, Rudolph, and the elves? Or at the Grinch, and the whole Peanuts gang?
But the church, too, is actively bringing some memorable people to our attention in the run-up to Christmas. It shares these vivid personalities with us through the feast days that occupy the weeks in the latter half of Advent.
We meet King David, poet and warrior; James, the apostle called the “Brother of the Lord”; Stephen, the first deacon of the church and its first martyr; Peter and Paul; and the brothers James and John. These are the stories the church re-introduces to us through the feasts of this week. Somehow, getting to know these figures prepares us for that greatest re-introduction of all, when we will once more welcome the infant Jesus into our hearts and lives.