Christmas Day 2016

SermonTitle: Christmas Day 2016
Date: 25th December 2016
Preacher: Rev Susanne Chambers
Church Calendar Date: Christmas 2016
Lectionary Reading: Isaiah 62:6-12, Titus 3:4-8a

I’m sure many of you have decorated the Christmas tree, decorated your home, maybe with a nativity scene in the corner and Christmas cards strung on string down or across walls in your living rooms!

Presents and cards from overseas or from around Australia have arrived and maybe they are already opened!

The Christmas pudding, done, the Christmas cake, done. The white Christmas and other special Christmassy sweets made.

Presents bought and wrapped and named for grandparents, parents, children and friends.

The traffic is terrible… the kids have finished school and are excited and bored and … there are parties and concerts.

It’s a HUGE time of year!

Today, you have come to St Paul’s, to sing well known carols, to remember in our prayers the peoples of the world, those who are in need and those who are no longer physically with us; we receive the sacrament of bread and wine to remind us all of our connection with the spiritual and holy, the very presence of Christ in us and to be with family and friends.

Today you may have come to St Paul’s, to just be still, to pause, to take a breath and remember why we do all we do this time of year!

An empty crib was placed in front of the altar last Sunday, in anticipation for the baby Jesus to be born…as we celebrate today.

A very humble place to be born… not the homes or hospitals we are used to.

The crib or food trough for animals, waiting for the placing of the baby Jesus, keeps the feeling of expectation alive in us!

And then the baby arrives. And we look in awe at the miracle before us! So small, so precious. And love bursts from our hearts!

Any birth is so precious, and this baby we celebrate today all over the world, helps us keep in touch with some important values of love, and community and friendships which are some of the touch stones of why Jesus came among us in the first place.

Thomas Moore, who is a deeply spiritual thinker, in his latest book called “The Soul of Christmas” wrote this about Christmas which I thought was worth sharing with you this morning.

“On an ordinary day you may suddenly realise that life is full of gifts, and you may think, “It’s like Christmas.” Christmas is not just a time of year, not just a festival. It’s an archetype of life’s generosity and giving.

Whenever you step away from the unconscious, ego-centred ways of the world and try to live in a different milieu, the kind that Jesus exemplified and spelled out in his teaching, then Jesus is born.  Christmas happens; it is not a one-time historical event. At Christmas time we don’t memorialize an event from history; rather, we acknowledge and call to mind a deep archetypal event that can take place at any moment. Jesus could be born.

You may suddenly discover that money, though not negative in itself, is not the key to happiness. You learn through some great fortune that friendship and love are infinitely more important. At that moment Jesus is born.

When some new possibility for your life stirs in you, something heretofore unknown and unfamiliar, Jesus is born.  It is Christmas.  When suddenly you realize that you can open your heart in love, when you have kept it closed for years out of fear, it is Christmas.  When you consider how to spend your time, and you go to a hospital to visit the sick, Jesus is born and it is Christmas…”[i]

My hope is as you continue this day with the wonderful imagination of children, with the wisdom of our elders and the joy to have a Christmas meal with all the trimmings, totally forgetting the diet you were on, that you will remember Jesus whose teaching is a light and a beacon showing the way toward a different way of living, one that is based on love, respect for all and courage to live our lives fully.

 

The Lord be with you.

[i] The Soul of Christmas by Thomas Moore page 31…