December 25, 2018

Christmas Day

Isaiah 52:7-10; Psalm 98; Hebrews 1:1-12; John 1:1-14

The Rev. James M.L. Grace


In the Name of God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  AMEN.

            I don’t know what it’s like at your house, but at my house all the presents are unwrapped, we’ve all been up since about 6 AM this morning.  I went to bed after church late last night and am now on like my fifth cup of coffee.  Actually, I’ve slept so little, and had so many cups of coffee, I think I have honestly lost count. 

            And it doesn’t end there.  Family is coming over to our house later today, and then we are going over to another family member’s home to spend the afternoon and evening, after our kids have enjoyed a steady Christmas diet of chocolate Santas, candy canes, cake, cinnamon rolls, and ice cream.  Merry Christmas, indeed.

            Some of us here today might have a love/hate relationship with Christmas and the end of year holiday season.  For me, we had four Christmas Eve services yesterday, Christmas morning festivities, and now at 10:15 AM, I’m tired.  Christmas Day service is the “finishing line” for church employees who look forward to some much-needed rest. 

            One of the beautiful things about this service, is that it’s not very popular.  Many people crowd into churches on Christmas Eve in America, but few on Christmas Day.  In another church I used to serve many members were from Africa, and they always found the small attendance on Christmas Day confusing.  In Africa, they would tell me, Christmas Day the churches were packed.  But not on Christmas Eve. 

            What we get today by being here is a moment in time to pause from the busyness around us.  For a moment we can quiet and center ourselves long enough to consider the birth of the Messiah.    

            In the reading from the book of Hebrews today, we hear this wonderful verse of scripture in which the author writes that Jesus is the “reflection of God’s glory and exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains everything.”  A more sufficient summary of what Christmas is and what Christmas means I am unable to find.  Jesus is the exact imprint of God’s being, and he sustains everything in the world – no exceptions.

            What wonderful news that is for us to hear today – that Christ sustains everything.  You might be tempted to look at the brokenness of the world or the brokenness of your own life and ask if Christ sustains all things, then why are things broken?  That’s a fair question.  The world is broken.   My answer is that Christ was born into a broken, incomplete, and imperfect world.  And Jesus did not turn his back on the broken world he was born into.  Rather, he loved it.   

            And he still does.  Whatever the reason is you are here today – whether it is because of Christmas Eve services are too crowded, whether you are here today because of tradition.  If you have no idea why you are here – Christ is born unto you, Christ sustains you, and Christ loves you.

            When I get back to my house this morning, there will be wrapping paper to pick up, dishes to wash, and, very likely, a new toy that is already in need of fixing.  I will jump back into the craziness of the holidays not because I want to, but because I get to.  You get to jump back into your life once you walk outside the doors of this church.  Our lives are worth living because they are sustained by a God worth loving.  AMEN.