December 25: WELCOME, CHRIST IS BORN!!!!!

December 25, 2021 Christmas Day.

Christmas 2021                                              December 25, 2021

Introduction

This night/morning we stand before a mystery. We stand before an event that is impossible: God made flesh.

  • We stand before the cave of Bethlehem.
  •  We have been here many times before. The scene is so familiar
  • We recognize those present: there is Mary the young girl who has just given birth to her first child.
  • Standing nearby is her husband, Joseph who shelters her from the cold.
  • As our eyes look downward we see the newborn infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a makeshift crib.
  • The couple are young and afraid.
  • This is not how they hoped things would unfold.
  • Then as we gaze around that humble cave, we see the animals.
  • This is their home. Joseph and Mary and you and I are all visitors.
  • Wondrously, they have made room for us.
  • Without knowing it, they are characters in a divine drama.
  • This is no ordinary cave. It is holy, the intersection of heaven and earth.
  • As our eyes behold they heavens above, we see the sky lit with the glory of God and filled with angels.
  • There are the angels, archangels, cherubim and seraphim all with their eyes peeled toward Bethlehem. 
  • They sing of the majesty of God, “glory to God in the highest and peace to those on whom God‘s favor rests.“

And finally, crowning the entire moment is that magnificent star of Bethlehem.

The Word made flesh

What is ultimately happening in this scene?

  1. In the opening words of his gospel, Saint John puts it this way. 
  2. He says, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. Through him all things came into being and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.”
  3. That simple scene in Bethlehem manifests something truly unbelievable.
  4. Although it may be simple and reflect the poverty of Joseph and Mary, it proclaims the majesty and the glory of God. 
  5. In that moment, all of the hopes and aspirations of the peoples and children of Israel are realized.
  6. The Messiah has come.
  7. God breaks into human history and God dwells among us.
  8. God’s promise to humanity, however is not exhausted.
  9. God promised to come some 20 centuries ago but he promises to remain with us. 
  10. The incarnation is an ongoing mystery.
  11. God continues to dwell among the human race.
  12.  One of his titles from the Old Testament is Emmanuel.
  13. It is translated: “God is with us.”

God enters into the messiness

The world of the first century 

God enters into the messiness of the human experience. 

  • The world of the first century was a mess. 
  • Life was not easy.
  • Israel and most of the western world were dominated by the Roman empire. 
  • The empire ruled with an iron fist and dominated by intimidation and fear
  • The vast majority of people were poor and barely able to make a living.
  • Life was hard.
  • Life expectancy was 40 years and most of those years were filled with toil and drudgery.
  • It was into that world that Jesus was born in Bethlehem.
  • He chose to be one with suffering humanity.
  • To that world he brought hope and salvation.

He came as the revelation of God’s transforming love.

Our messy world

Our world is not that much different from the world of the first century.

  • Our world seems to be in a mess as well.
  • The country is polarized.
  • People seem to be intolerant of one another. 
  • Additionally, people worry about the future and the economy.
  • Things cost more. Inflation is nearly 7%.
  • Additionally, the pandemic seems to be dragging on and on.
  • People are tired of COVID-19. Every several months there seems to be a new variance of the virus. 
  • People continue to get sick and some die. It seems as though there is no end to it.
  • Moreover, each of us struggles with our own personal issues.
  • People struggle with family issues, with sickness and unemployment.
  • Life is messy and at times difficult.
  • Yes, amidst all of this Jesus comes into our world and into our lives.
  • God promises to remain with us.
  • As a matter of fact, Jesus’ final words were “I will be with you always until the end of time” 

God is with us

 Christmas is a confirmation of that promise.

  • Jesus came into the world of the first century to be hope for the nations.
  • Jesus comes into our world to be our consolation and our hope. 
  • He wants to walk with each of us.
  • It is in the very messiness of our world and of our life that Jesus breaks through.
  • Curiously, he doesn’t take all of that away, but walks with us. 
  • Somehow, that is the mystery of salvation.
  • God is with us!

Conclusion

God did not need to come into our world.

  • God chose to come into our world.
  • He did so out of a profound love for the human family.
  • God meets us where we’re at.
  • He comes into our life in order to invite us to share in his life.
  • God offers an invitation to everyone.
  • If you have felt distance from him or for some reason have drifted away, consider that he is inviting you this very moment.
  • It is the opportunity of a lifetime.
  • God wants to walk with you.
  • He wants to share in the messiness of your life.
  • God came as a baby at Bethlehem on that first Christmas.
  • He comes to each one of us at this Christmas night/day
  • If you have been waiting for some kind of sign of God‘s love, maybe this Christmas is that sign for you.
  • The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.
  • May you experience God‘s love for you tonight/this morning and know the peace and joy of that first Christmas.

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