Sermon – December 24, 2014
The Rev. Rebecca S. Myers, CSW
St. John’s Episcopal Church, Corbin, KY
The Eve of the Nativity of our Lord
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see– I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. Luke 2:10-11
Please be seated
One of the things I’ve always loved about Christmas is the surprise of the gifts. When I was a little girl, some of my relatives lived far away, so they’d send us our gifts. I remember they’d arrive in the mail and my mom would put them under her bed. Why my brothers and I never tried to open them, I’m not sure. Maybe it was because their bedroom was mostly off limits to us.
Anyway, on Christmas Eve, we were allowed to get all of the gifts from under my parents’ bed and place them under the tree. Of course, we tried to guess what they were, shaking them a little and looking at the shape. But we were never allowed to open them early.
Trying to get to sleep Christmas Eve was nearly impossible. The excitement of the presents under the tree and then, anticipating what Santa would bring. So many surprises. I could barely sleep and was up very early in the morning. My poor parents….they said we were not allowed to go into our living room until they were awake, but we woke them up SO EARLY! The waiting was so hard.
When my children were young, for some reason, they’d sleep in on Christmas morning, which drove me crazy! I was so excited to see their faces when they opened their gifts. Some years I woke them up!
There’s just something about finding the perfect gift for someone, isn’t there? Seeing the look on their face…the surprise and joy.
And then there’s the joy we feel as the giver. We’ve used our precious resources – our money. We’ve spent time and thought. And sometimes we’ve made the gift, using our talent.
I wonder if God was that excited by giving us the gift of Jesus! We had certainly lost our way. We had become judgmental. We had become more attached to rules than to relationships with each other. We had become dishonest. We had become unjust and uncaring.
But God didn’t destroy us. God didn’t just pick out a few good people and destroy the rest. No, God decided to come down to earth…to be born as we are born…to grow as we grow…to live as one of us. Jesus came to show us how to love each other. Jesus came to show us how precious we are to each other…how important we are to each other.
Yes, sometimes the message of Jesus has been distorted and misused over the past two millennia, but somehow the essence continues to come through…. The good news that God is love and that God so loved us that God came to earth to show us and to teach us how to love each other and what justice looks like and how living in peace is the goal.
Yes, we are probably tired from searching for that perfect gift for our loved ones. Yet, on this night, look around you and know in your heart that God is showing us the most perfect gift – that of the love of each other. Right here in this place…. The baby Jesus, God incarnate, is laid in the manger bidding you to rest in the love of God and the love of each other.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see– I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.