“Love and Taco Salad,” delivered by The Rev. Rhonda Smith McIntire, Advent IVA: 18 December 2016

In the name of God, who is Love. Amen.

Once upon a time, an angel spoke to Joseph and told him to care for Mary and the son she would bear. Jesus was born. Love, with a capital “L,” was born.

Like all stories of goodness, it is one we delight in telling over and over.

Here’s another:

Once upon a time, the priest at a small Episcopal parish in a village in the Southwest was having lunch with friends. As the holidays approached, she was feeling especially blue, missing her only sister who died ten years ago.

The priest, in her sentimental state, was grateful to have friends listen as she told a story of a Christmas Eve almost 20 years ago. At that time, the priest served at a big Cathedral church, so there were 3 services on Christmas Eve: one at 5:00, one at 8:00 and one at 11:00 p.m.

The family tradition was to go to the sister’s home in the afternoon, make luminarias, have an early dinner, then the priest would leave for the services and the family would stay up until she returned for present-opening late into the night.

The sister had always made pozole for that early meal.

But, on this particular Christmas Eve, the priest walked into the kitchen and saw a huge skillet full of browning hamburger meat and all the fixings of taco salad on the counter. She said, “No pozole this year?”

Her sister replied, “No, I made this because I know taco salad with tons of hamburger meat is your favorite.”

That’s the story the priest told her friends at lunch that day. She said she knew it might sound maudlin, but that it was one of the times in her life she felt the most loved.

Not too long afterwards, those same friends were planning a retirement party for that same priest. Can you guess what they decided to serve?

Taco salad with tons of hamburger meat.

And the priest thought,
“Angels spoke to Mary and Joseph long ago and Love was born.
“Here, now, the angels have spoken again.
“And, again, Love is born . . . in taco salad!
“Who would have guessed?”

Amen.

©Rhonda Smith McIntire 2016

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