Summary: For Christmas Eve Communion: what God has done in Christ means that peace has been accomplished, and this world’s contradictions have been resolved. The Father’s love has embraced us.
“What’s done is done." We say it when we want to pronounce the final words, when we want to speak the ultimate truth. "What’s done is done", as if so obvious a truth really needed stating. "What’s done is done.” It becomes a way of insisting that there is no more to be said, no more to do, no more to pay attention to. It’s over. "What’s done is done”.
We say it when we are asked to accept some new fact, something that we would have done differently if we could have. But we can’t, and so "What’s done is done". That family heirloom you dropped and broke beyond repair; what else can you say, now, after this clumsiness, except, "What’s done is done"? Tomorrow, somewhere within this church family, some child’s brand new toy will break down or get stepped on or get chewed up by the family dog, and, unless there is an exceedingly kind store manager out there somewhere, well, "what’s done is done.” Saying it makes us feel a little better, makes us think we can’t do any more. Might as well accept it.
Or deeper. The pink slip comes down from the boss; after the anger, it somehow helps to say, “What’s done is done”. The midnight call from the hospital emergency room; after the shock and the grief, a shrug of the shoulders and the obvious and yet always necessary claim, "what’s done is done."
Our lives are filled and shaped by the things we cannot change and must accept; filled with the misshapen happenings of the past and the awkwardness of the present; haunted by the ghosts of Christmas past and shadowed by the spirits of Christmas present. And we, like old Ebenezer Scrooge, carried away in memory, might wish it could all be changed. But it can’t. And so we pronounce, "What’s done is done."
Except. Except that at Christmas what’s done is what God has done. What’s done is what God has chosen to do, at the right time, in the fullness of time, to repair our brokenness and undo our doneness. At Christmas it is not we in our clumsiness who have the last word; it is God in His grace and truth. We think that we are in control; we imagine that we are the movers and shakers who make things happen. But I tell you that it is not over until God announces that what’s done is done.
Consider the promise made to God’s people: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. And the government shall be upon his shoulders, and his name shall be called wonderful counselor, mighty God, the everlasting Father, the prince of peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."
Consider that promise. It says that despite the brokenness of this world, there will be order; that despite the hostilities that continue to break out, there will be peace; that despite the atrocities and the unfairness with which so many are treated, there will be justice. And all of this is told us with definiteness, a certainty. Unto us a child is born ... of the increase of peace there shall be no end ... the zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this. Now we think we know something else. We know of Bosnia and Rwanda; we know of Korea and Haiti; we know a hundred places where peace has evaporated. What’s done is done; or maybe not yet. Not yet.
Consider the promise, but consider also the gift of the child. The story is full of human beings making their own decisions, acting in what they thought was freedom. But in the midst of it all, what our God purposed was done. Augustus in Rome decided, or thought he decided, to impose a registration. Joseph in Nazareth decided, or thought he decided, to go up to the city of David called Bethlehem, to be taxed. An innkeeper in Bethlehem decided, or thought he decided, to send a very pregnant young woman and her anxious spouse to a stable. So many people just did what they thought they were to do, at the time. But behind it all, in the midst of it all, was God, doing what God will do. "And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered." The days were accomplished. What’s done is done, for God is doing it. And despite all our not yets, it is done. It is.