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Grace and peace to you, sisters and brothers in Christ.
To you a child is born. These are the words of great hope which herald the change God is enacting. For you, God sets aside power and puts on humanity. God comes into our world. Creator is born into creation. All of this is for you.
We gather around the manger tonight to remember that God chose to enter our world there. That this wasn’t a queen’s bedroom reminds us that God has entered at the most ordinary and lowly of places. Unlike the oval office, this stable, a room where a few animals were housed, would be somewhere most anybody would have seen. This good news isn’t just for the top 1%, Jesus’ birth is for everyone.
That’s good for us, because we need this birth. We need a change. We are the people who sit in darkness, who need the light to shine on us. We know the grief of loss. We know the pain of strained relationships. We fear violence and the uncertainty of the future. We carry guilt or hate or grudges that hold us back from experiencing joy.
On us, light has shined. Jesus’ birth brings hope for our present and our future. God has chosen to be with us. God is the master of life, peace, and forgiveness, and brings those gifts to us in Jesus. God is at work to transform the darkness of our lives with the love embodied in Jesus.
The joy of meeting Jesus at the manger comes from realizing that we are not really anyone special, we’re not perfect or even good, but God has chosen to come into our world because God loves us.
Today, God continues to break into our ordinary lives. Through Jesus, God has permanently united with all of creation. So wherever you go, God is with you. In whatever work you do, however you spend your days, the possibility is there for God to show up in powerful ways.
Jaime offered a powerful witness to the way in which God showed up in her life. In Jaime’s work as a music therapist, she experienced God at work. …. You can read her words in the Fellowship Hall and see the music book which opened her experience of God’s work.
The stable in which God invites you to meet Jesus is your ordinary life. Contained within your days are opportunities to see God at work, bringing reconciliation, hope, comfort, love, and new beginnings. You are one of the many mangers in which Jesus has been placed. Through you, others are able to meet the God who has come for us. In this season, and throughout the year, God works through you when you act in love. Where is the opportunity for you to shine the light of Christ? Is there someone alone, feeling forgotten? Is there a relationship you’ve let go sour? Is there someone in need? Is there a voice that has been silenced? How might you let God work through you as you embody God’s love for the world? The world is longing for the healing Jesus brings.
We celebrate Jesus’ birth this Christmas, even as we look forward to God’s coming entry into the world. We claim in faith that the light of God shines into our world, while we still see much darkness. We wait for a day when God will bring all things to light. We wait for God to make all things new. We wait for God to heal everyone and bring us all into life.
We retell the story of Jesus’ birth to give that good news a place in our hearts. God’s act of love in Jesus’ incarnation gives us courage that God will act again. We tell each other of the nativities – the little birthing of Christ- in our own lives so that we can be encouraged in faith. We sing of all that God has accomplished and will accomplish, as God continues to enter our world. In faith we join
“all the world give (to) back the song which now the angels sing: peace on the earth, good will to all”
We are the shepherds who seek out signs of God’s entrance and we are the angels who sing out the good news of witness to the places God is here, at work.
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