Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Christmas is just around the corner. As we move ever closer to the day of our Lord’s birth, let us strive to keep Holy our focus and remembrance of what Christmas Day is all about. Christmas is more than a day of giving and receiving gifts from family and friends.
Christmas is certainly not all about Santa Claus and Christmas trees, parties and making good cheer. Let us, being people of faith, remember that Christmas Day in the church is the feast of the incarnation, the night and day when the word became flesh and bone. The day God came down and joined our common lot.
In the Gospel of Luke, Luke begins Jesus’ birth narrative not with accounts of God using rich, powerful people in places of power and influence to usher in the coming of messiah. Rather, God begins the birth story of Jesus by using old people at a temple, Zechariah and Elizabeth. God chose a peasant couple named Joseph and Mary to be the earth bound vessels through which Messiah would come into the world. God even used poor shepherds out in the fields to announce and witness Emmanuel being born!
God used the opposite of worldly models of power to show the world and humanity a power and grace almost beyond our comprehension! On that special night, long ago in ancient Judea, the literal King of Kings, God’s own son, came to earth as a poor peasant. He was born homeless, in filthy conditions. Truly he was born in the most vulnerable and insecure of circumstances.
By any earthly standard, God’s son should have been born in or near King Herod’s palace on the Temple Mount. Yet God did just the opposite. God in this singular act of supreme love, sends Emmanuel into the world to truly model God’s love and mercy, shown to common people.
Christ was born into a sin darkened world of war, violence, injustice and spiritual denial. Conversely in our postmodern world wracked with war, economic and political dysfunction and corruption, Emmanuel, Jesus, is still offering us hope, light and truth! I for one need to believe in the beacon of light and hope that Jesus offers humanity. In these critical times, we can forget that by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit, Emmanuel is ever near. All we need do to feel his love is to reach out to him through prayer and the study of God’s word, the Bible.
In this season of light, love and truth, I encourage you all to leave your home Bible open to St. Luke, Chapter 2:1-20. In the days leading up to Christmas, on occasion stop and read the birth narrative of Jesus. In this reading you will discover a peace, love and gentle power emanating from the Bible. A love fully revealed to the world, in the birth of the baby Jesus.
Brothers and Sisters, Emmanuel is near. Soon Christmas will be here. Keep the light of faith burning in your hearts and lives. In the name of Jesus, Emmanuel, peace be with you all, and Merry Christmas!
Amen, amen, amen…