Christmas Day – December 25, 2018
Christmas Day 2018
Merry Christmas! Welcome, all who have come to experience the beauty of our worship and the glorious music of this sacred season. I suspect even the most cynical of folk may take a sabbatical on Christmas when we even celebrate the seemingly outlandish belief that God would come to us as a baby, live among us, and teach us how to love so that God could, through our human efforts, bring about a new creation where there will be peace, justice and righteousness without end.
People fill houses of worship last night and this morning because the one common thread among us as human beings is that we want to believe in something, something beyond ourselves, something that will help us in our search for that unique commodity for which we all desperately long—hope; hope of a better next year, a better world, a better life.
Where is your hope this Christmas? To find peace in your anxious lives? To get answers to the problems and struggles you face? Perhaps you are here, carrying in your heart the highest hopes for the human entire family—for those near to you and those far away, those you know intimately and those you’ve never met. Whatever your reasons for being with us this Christmas , I would wager that you have come because you have hope for that new creation promised by God, one where the lion and lamb will lie down together.
My prayer for each of you is that you will leave here with this truth implanted in your heart: that Christmas is an awareness that grows in us each day of our lives, our awareness of God come among us, a call to make today better than yesterday because on a day just like today, God came to us as one of us in the form of the very humanity that is our flesh and blood fabric.
Christmas is kind of a moveable feast in that our experience of it changes with time. As a child, we think of it as the season for getting presents. When we’re young adults, it becomes a season of parties.
When we settle down with a life partner and perhaps children, it’s a season of nesting and preparing our home for a family feast. When we get a little older, it changes more profoundly.
From behind the trappings of Christmas cards, big dinners, candles and carols, past the nativity scenes and poinsettia-laden Altars, we may begin to see what Christmas is really all about: finding life where we do not expect it and longing for God’s promise of peace, justice, and restoration in a torn world so often laden with heart break.
Christmas brings us back to a crib in a manger where a baby cries with the delight of new life and implores us to start over, aware of the year that has gone before, full of hope that the life of this Holy Child of Bethlehem will once again teach us what it takes to live well and make the world even just a little safer,
healthier, more compassionate, planet than it was in the year we are leaving behind us.
Benedictine nun and author, Joan Chittister, says that “there is a child in each one of us waiting to be born again. It is to those looking for life that the figure of the Christ, a child, beckons. Christmas is for those who refuse to give up and grow old, for those whom life comes newly and with purpose each and every day, for those who can let yesterday go, so that life can be full of new possibility always.”
May the sweet mystery of this sacred commemoration, the tenderness of the God-Child, the delight of the shepherds who first beheld him, the encouragement of the angels’ song to us, and the hope of all good things to come, be with you today and fill all your tomorrows. Amen.