Sermon for Christmas Day

Isaiah 52:7-10                                     Psalm 98                              Hebrews 1:1-4                                   John 1:19-14

We are here to celebrate, as we did last night, the arrival of Jesus.  We remember his birth and all that represents to us.  John begins his gospel telling us much of what it means, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . And the Word became flesh and lived among us. . ..” So, in celebrating the birth of Jesus we celebrate Christ coming to be with us.  Jesus is the Word and in him John reminds us that all that has come into being has come from God.   

When I lead our worship and look at our altar, I am reminded of this as I see the Bible in the stained-glass window just behind the cross on our altar. The Bible represents the Word of God which John teaches us is Jesus.  The cross also represents Jesus for us.  So, in the beginning was the Word, and John says “we have seen his glory . . . full of grace and truth.”  Some say Jesus came into his glory after his death on the cross when he was resurrected.  Jesus conquered death for all of us and in doing so offers us life.  John writes in his opening: “What came into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”

To be alive; therefore, means to have God within us and to see God’s presence in the world around us.  God did not create us and leave us to live on our own.  God lives in us; God walks among us and God sustains life.  Thus, a relationship with Jesus can be found in the relationships we have with each other.

I just learned about a Jesuit spiritual practice called Examen. It was developed by St. Ignatius over 500 years ago and it is to be done daily.  Each day we are to prayerfully reflect on the events of the day in order to increase our awareness of God’s presence.  As I began this practice, I discovered that I experience God’s presence, more often than not, through the people I meet.  In our baptismal covenant, we promise to seek Christ in all people – so I should not be surprised that is where I find God.  

I love the image of the incarnation of God beginning with the birth of Jesus.  Babies need food, clothing, love, and compassion.  Jesus comes to us needing all these and more.  Jesus needs us to show, by our example, what it means to be faithful to the one who created us – to the one who was in the beginning and will be forever. 

Today, as we are gathered to celebrate and remember his birth, let us remember that it is love that gives our lives meaning.  We are gathered in the presence of God who is the source of all love. Our faith is not a faith built on fear, it is a faith built on love. Jesus comes to us as a newborn who needs to be loved and nurtured.  Let us love God and share Christ’s love with others.

Let us pray.

          We give you thanks, O Lord, for revealing your love to us in the birth of your Son, Jesus Christ, our Lord.  Help us to nourish your love within and to share it with others that they, too, might feel your presence in their lives.  We offer our prayers in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen.