Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Eve 2007a

Below is the sermon I wrote for Christmas Eve, but didn’t preach.

Preparing to address you on this most holy night of our Saviors birth, I scoured my memory for the right story that would capture the gravity of the Incarnation, and make it relevant to our lives. I thought about all the stories I have heard in Christmas sermons. I even remembered some of the stories I have told in Christmas sermons, but nothing seemed quite right. It would be easy enough to tell a story that would tug at our heart strings, but this year nothing struck me as right.

The story that causes us to gather this night really isn’t about us, as much as it is about something God has done for us. We are observers of the events that unfold in our sight. We look on as a young woman gives birth to her first child that we know, and she knows to be the Son of God. We watch this event as the world sleeps. A few shepherds witness the birth, a father watches and waits, but most of the inhabits of the city, nation and world miss it. Like us, they will only hear about it, and relive it later.

The story we relive gives us clues as to what it all means. The king has come into history to oppose the Caesars of this world. Angelic messengers proclaim that God is now with us. Yet, it all happens in a stable with all its earthiness. The Newborn King is heralded by heaven, more than earth, and we look on witnessing what God has done.

The vulnerable newborn rests in a manger, a feed trough really. We might see the trough and imagine it to be like a bed, but it is not. It is a piece of agricultural tool designed to sustain creatures. I can’t help but think, the Messiah resting in a feed trough is more symbolic, than expedient. For as we look on this child, we see him and know him to be the source of our sustenance and salvation.

We watch for now, but we must leave side of the manger. When we depart, we ponder, like Mary, what we have seen. We seek to lay claim to the meaning of this event in our lives. We give thanks for the gift of this child. This Child seeks to take us somewhere. We will follow, where he leads

No comments: