Sermon for Christmas morning
Christmas presents – lots of excitement – but occasionally don’t deliver – the toy which needs batteries – which aren’t included – or the 1000 piece jigsaw, with one key piece missing -and it hasn’t fallen under the table =
The Christmas Sermon – perhaps less excitement 🙂
Of course all this talk of missing pieces – or the missing batteries might suggest that I’d be asking ‘What is missing to make your christmas complete – or rather whom??’ But I’m not . . . it would be most misleading to say that we need Jesus to make our Christmas complete – for Jesus isn’t part of Christmas . . .
Because it’s the summer – many of us will be heading away for a break and now more than ever holidays are about the accumulation of ‘experiences’ – perhaps bungie jumping?
Or walking the Routeburn?
Or visiting a vineyard? Or sky diving?
But there is one experience which everyone here has in common – can anyone guess what it is??
Actually this experience is common to everyone who has ever lived and who ever will live . . . and none of us can remember it – it is the experience of being born!
When you and I were born we came into a world of which we have no sense of ownership – we don’t even begin to have the language to say – ‘this is my world’ – although ‘Mine’ is a word most of us pick up in our very early days . . . yet how easily we say that ‘Jesus is born into ‘our’ world’ . . . where do we learn this way of speaking about things? That the message of Christmas is that God has come to us to be with us in ‘our world’ as if God was somewhere else? – perhaps lived in a different world – like a long lost relative visiting from the other side of the world . . .???
How often do we hear – ‘God in Jesus is born into our world’ . . . without thinking for a moment about it.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. ‘. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being’.
Jesus came into our world? The babe of Bethelehem is born into that which he has himself created . . . He prepared a world to be born into!
Jesus’ birth is unique in that He alone is born into the World which he knows as his own – the world which cannot be known apart from Him – a world which makes no sense apart from knowing Him
St John picks this up – he says ‘although the world was made through him, the world knew him not . . .’ speaking through the prophet Isaiah God says ‘The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib; but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.’ The rest of Creation knows its Maker . . . this is where the idea of the ox and the ass at the cradle of Jesus comes from, THEY recognize their maker . . . yet ‘He came to his own and his own knew him not . . .’
YET . . . Yet to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.
The message of Christmas is that by and large we have got Christmas inside out – it is not that God is on the outside of our world and is born into it – rather that he is at the heart of it and comes to us who are on the outside – cut off from his life and promises that we might be born again, born into His Life, to know the world as it really is.
‘What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness’ In so far as we might understand Christmas as Jesus coming to us – it is like the master of the house opening the door – filling our darkness with light and inviting us in to that Light and Life
It is not that Jesus comes to us as a present, but as an invitation
Jesus has not come to join in with Our Christmas, to share in our lives – he has come that we might share in his . . .
And so we come to his house – to participate in his life in Word and Sacrament, in Bread and Wine