Meditation for Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve: December 24, 2016

This feels like a funny moment in our Christmas Eve celebration. We’ve heard the prophecies, we’ve heard about the baby in the manger, we’ve heard the angels song, and we’ve heard about the wise men and their gifts. We’ve sung at least some of our favorite carols. What remains, at least for me, to complete this moving worship service, is to sing one more lovely carol – “Silent Night” – amid the flickering glow of candlelight. And there are the crucial ingredients for a Christmas Eve feast: the prophecies, the stories, the mother, the baby, the angels, the songs, and the candles. They fill our hearts.

The gift of Christmas lies in great part in its wonder, in its mystery, in its sense of being greater even than its precious parts. So rather than try to tell you What It All Means, which is a question we’ve been debating for not quite two thousand years, I’d like us to stay in the wonder, to bask in the mystery, to marvel at the greatness we do not yet see.

So here’s my offering: more wonder. Just one more part of the Christmas story at which we might wonder tonight.

The birth of one who worship as God with us happened with almost no fanfare. The angels could not be restrained from their song, but they sang it above the nearly empty hills, to the poor and forgotten. The day after Jesus was born, the world went on just as it had, with no sign that God had joined humanity in a new and wondrous way, with no signal that God had declared that human beings were so important as to be worth joining as one of them.

Karoline Lewis writes, “God’s commitment to being human in Jesus is God also saying, ‘I am committed to you being you, being fully you.’ It is God saying, ‘I love the truly you.’”

God came to us in Jesus so that I can be truly me. So that you can be truly you.

I don’t know about you, but I spend a fair amount of time being fake-ly me. Fake-ly me fears the future. Fake-ly me clings to things because they might be needed someday. Fake-ly me passes up chances to be generous with my time or skills or possessions. Fake-ly me doesn’t write a song because fake-ly me is afraid that nobody wants to hear it. Fake-ly me doesn’t offer affection because fake-ly me is afraid it will not be returned.

Fake-ly me keeps my head down, my shoulders hunched, my needs unmet, and my convictions unexpressed.

Truly me dares to give. Truly me dares to share. Truly me dares to appreciate what is offered. Truly me dares to believe that tomorrow comes with blessings – and it’s Christmas morning, kids, so yes, it does. Truly me dares to believe that the day after tomorrow comes with blessings, too!

Truly me dares to love. Truly me dares to be loved.

Truly me knows that God loves truly me.

There’s your source of wonder. God loves truly you. Not that you don’t deserve love, truly you; you do. But is there a greater marvel than that the creator of the universe cares for you, for your being, for your freedom, and for your true self?

Fear and anxiety may be invoked by the world, but not by our God. In the child of Bethlehem we have God with us – with us, for us, loving us, freeing us from the burdens of fear.

And so we repeat, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” The darkness will not overcome it, cannot overcome it, shall not overcome it. The light shines.

Merry Christmas.


Categories Sermons | Tags: | Posted on December 24, 2016

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