Such a lovely room

Such a lovely room

Saturday, December 24, 2022

YEAR A 2022 christmas eve

Christmas Eve, 2022
Isaiah 9:2-7
Titus 2:11-14
Luke 2:1-20
Psalm 96

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  Amen.

Now that the sun has set, I can safely say, Merry Christmas to you all.  To those foolhardy enough to come out tonight, as well as those joining us online at home.  It has been a bitterly cold couple of days across the country, which has led us to check in on our family and neighbors, even more than usual.  To make sure they’re okay, and that they have everything they need.  And in many ways, this fits perfectly with the entire concept of Christmas:  That God was born a human being and became one of us, fully human, in every sense of the word.  Needing help from those around him.  Our savior was born as a helpless baby; God has taken on human flesh.

And there are important changes in our world because of that.  God becoming human is a reminder that life is sanctified, a stamp of approval on creation.  As we are told in the creation story in Genesis, we are made in the image of God.  And Jesus taking on human form completes that cycle.  You could say,  we are made in the image of God, and now God is made in the image of humans, in the person of Jesus.  And, what’s more, every single person is made in the image of God.  Whether we like it or not, God’s image is standing right in front of us, sitting right next to us.  Gay, straight, or trans, Democrat or Republican, Ohio State or Michigan fan.  No matter what we think of that person, we are looking at the image of God.

And thinking back on the story we heard, just imagine what the glorious angels thought of those lowly shepherds.  What the shepherds thought of the selfish innkeeper.  What humble Mary thought about the angel Gabriel.  What Joseph thought about his mysteriously pregnant fiancee’.  And later on, what the wise kings  thought of the disgusting manger setting.  Each and every one of them made in the image of God.  None of these people belong together.  And yet, here they are, altogether, in one of the most well-known stories ever told.

And why are all these people gathered together tonight?  Well, the shepherds told us:  because this thing has taken place.  This event brings them all together.  The shepherds say to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place.”  This thing.  They don’t even know what to call it; they certainly don’t understand it; they don’t even know what has happened.  But they leave their flocks behind, because this thing has taken place.

Which leads me to ask, what brings you here tonight?  Why did you bundle up and drive on over to this lovely old building with the red doors?  I’m sure some are home visiting family, and it’s a tradition.  Some came because you come every year.  Some because your grandparents came every year.  Some came because your mom made you.  Some because you like to sing the Christmas carols, or look at the pretty lights.  Some because it wouldn’t be Christmas without coming to this place, on this night.

But why?  Why do we go through all this, despite the weather and the hassle and whatever else?  Why are any of us here tonight?  Well, the answer is THIS THING.  We are here because this thing has taken place.  And we keep coming back.  We come out of hope.  We come out of duty.  We come to see the spectacle.  We come wondering if it all just might be true.  We are all in the same boat here.  Whatever you think about God and Jesus and humanity the rest of the year, you’re here tonight.  Because of this thing that has taken place.

The story is the same every year.  And it will never change, no matter why it is that we show up.  Because THIS thing has taken place:  God, the creator of all that is, has come to dwell among us.  The One in whom we live and move and have our being has shown up, and keeps showing up.

In the midst of despair and sadness and tragedy and grief, there is also hope and joy and laughter and babies.  Because God has come to dwell among us, and is still here.  Don’t ever lose sight of that point: because Jesus was born this night, God dwells among us.  No matter what or why or how, this thing HAS taken place, and it changes everything.
Merry Christmas!


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