Christmas 2017

Christmas2017

Christmas - Year B

A sermon preached by the Rev. Ian M. Delinger

 

Merry Christmas!


We are here this evening/morning to celebrate the Coming of God as a human being, as a child, Jesus Christ, The Messiah. Among the lights, tinsel on the trees, decorations, ovens full of food, and fridges full of drinks, we find The Messiah. In a manger behind the inn, the Savior of the World was born. Pretty amazing stuff, eh?


They say that history is written by the winners. In the case of the history of Jesus’ Birth, it was written by some of His closest followers, several decades after His Death and Resurrection.

 

  • In the case of Luke, the most history-like story of Jesus’ Birth [with the shepherds, angels, and no room at the inn], Luke would not have been present, and Luke did not actually know the Historical Jesus. He would have had to rely on oral history, that would have probably been handed down from Mary and Joseph. No one else was there.
  • In the case of John, his account is more poetic and theological. [In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And through Him all things came to being.] He draws on the Creation stories that would have been part of his own Jewish upbringing. And the main character in the portion we read [on Christmas morning] is John the Baptist who testifies to the Light which enlightens everyone.


God coming into the world for

the sake of Humanity is

indisputably the greatest act of

love that we can conceive of as

human beings.


The Death and Resurrection as a part of that act of love makes that love beyond our comprehension. The more we hear about it, the more we understand and experience the power of The Messiah.


Luke’s story must have relied on Mary and Joseph, because no one else was there. But, oh, there were others there! Have you ever wondered how amazing it would be if we had the accounts of the people in the story? Imagine if we could hear the account of the Inn Keeper, for example. Surely, he (or she) eventually found out that the couple he put out back became the parents of The Messiah, who so many in the region knew by the time Jesus was an adult. Would the Inn Keeper have been overwhelmed by the outcome of his hospitality? Would we discover that the Inn Keeper was a miserly and miserable person? Or was she deeply humble and generous, doing everything one can to accommodate this desperate couple?


What about the Shepherds? They were visited by an Angel! Their stories must be mind-boggling! The Inn Keeper got no warning whatsoever, but the Shepherds had the double incredible experience of a visit from an Angel and visiting The Messiah. The story states that the Shepherds were terrified. I would be terrified, too, if I was visited by an Angel. [These Angels are cute and innocent…but real Angels…who knows what powers they have. The Archangel Michael slayed a dragon!] What did they do with their sheep while they were visiting the Baby Jesus? Did they share their stories with their friends and relatives? Surely the Judean countryside was full of stories that were shared by the Shepherds for generations to come.


Not only were the Shepherds visited by an Angel in the fields, who pointed them toward the Christ Child, when they were with the Christ Child, a multitude of the Heavenly Hosts appeared! This is cataclysmic stuff, never experienced before or since! It was most certainly shared. And it would be incredible to have the stories of the Inn Keeper and the Shepherds.


Every person here has had an

experience of Jesus the Christ.

 

  • It may have been through the Bible stories, or by greeting every person as you would Jesus.
  • Your experience may be intellectual or experiential.
  • It may have been cataclysmic, or Jesus’ gentle presence felt in a quiet moment or a moment of need.
  • It may be through the regular participation Holy Communion, which we are invited by the Historical Jesus to do in remembrance of Him.


Imagine if the world could hear all those stories? Our understanding of God, who came into this world as a Baby and who left this world through Death, Resurrection and Ascension, would be so incredibly enriched. Our understanding of what The Messiah is about would be amazingly deep if each of us here, and all the trillions of people around the world for the last 2,000yrs, this multitude of Heavenly Hosts, shared their stories, experiences and understandings of Jesus.


Now that we have celebrated The Incarnation, let us go forth from here and share OUR stories of the Christmas Miracle, the miracle of God coming into this world as a Child to give to us Eternal Life. Whether you are a regular churchgoer or a ChrEaster (someone who comes only at Christmas and Easter),


tell your eye-witness accounts of God-in-our-world today.

 

  1. And maybe one day, YOU will be represented in the Christmas Pageant.
  2. Just because you’re not a shepherd or an Inn Keeper doesn’t mean you’re not a Wiseman or Wise Woman.
  3. Because you received Him, and believed in His name, you have the power to be a child of God.

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