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Christmas Again!
Topic Started: Dec 27 2009, 10:38 AM (593 Views)
Deleted User
Deleted User

December 25, 2009

"In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God" (John 1:1).

Isaiah 52:7-10; Psalms 98:1-6; Hebrews 1:1-6; John 1:1-18

The Reading we have just heard -- "In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God" and so on -- is the Apostle John's Christmas story. We are accustomed to reading about the shepherds and the angels and the Wise Men, but John's version tells us in a unique way what it's really all about: the reality that God loves His human family so much that for centuries, He prepared the world for the coming of Christ. And with Jesus' coming there came a new understanding and a new experience of how much God loves us.

After John had written his Gospel in this way, he decided it wasn't enough. There is one other thing this coming of Christ does that is supremely important to us, so John decided to write a little letter about it. All through that First Epistle of John we are told that because Jesus has given us a new understanding of God's love for us, we can now love others in a radical new way. This radical new love is a love that is for the other person -- an "I love you" that says to your husband or wife or parent or child or friend or enemy, "How can I give life to you? How can I encourage you? How can I call forth the good life that is in you?"

How can we just be here today and not be overjoyed? Haven't we heard this Good News yet? Haven't we heard that this great God Almighty, who created the heavens and the earth, comes to us in this Christmas way to reveal the depth of His love for us?

In a New York City subway train there is a movie poster announcing the 2009 remake of the legendary story "A Christmas Carol," starring Jim Carrey. Just beneath the film's title someone has scrawled one simple word, followed by one big question mark: "AGAIN?"

Today, as a community of faith we joyfully celebrate the birthday of the Lord Jesus, and we can't wait to shout these words again, and again and again: "The word was made flesh, He lived among us, and we saw His glory, the glory that is His as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth." Today, the promise has rung throughout the concert hall and shopping mall -- the country Church and city Cathedral:

FOR UNTO US A CHILD IS BORN.

It was Christmas day and two six-year-olds were discussing Santa Claus. Said one, "Santa Claus isn't real. It's just your parents." "That's not true", said the other. "My parents couldn't afford to buy me all that stuff."

Every year around Christmas time Santa Claus receives some hard knocks from persons who feel strongly that Christmas has become under-spiritualized and over-commercialized. Every year at this time the slogan, "Put Christ back in Christmas," reappears. Of course, Christmas has been over-commercialized. Christmas is big business and frankly, it is more than some of us can afford. Many merchants are the first to admit that if it were not for the annual Christmas-shopping binge they would be hard put to stay in business. But if we worry about Christmas being over-commercialized we should also be careful that it not be over-spiritualized. The truth of the Incarnation is that God comes to us in Jesus Christ where we are. He comes to us in the material world which He made, and into which He placed us.

He comes to us in specific, tangible, practical, concrete ways. This means, for example, that whatever hang-up you have brought with you today -- it may be your overdue bills or a sickness or a family worry -- wherever you are with that problem, that is where God's healing Presence can...

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