Please pray with me this morning, church:
Through the birth of a child,
You show us what love looks like.
You become humanity in order to redeem humanity.
Give us hearts that beat with the same fervent love
For the world that you have for us.
Merry Christmas, church!
You sure are committed.
I feel like it was just yesterday I saw some of you…
How was your Christmas morning? Anyone get any good gifts? Was Santa generous this year?
Who got coal? Be honest…
I pray that this Christmas has been for you what it’s been for me. Last night was wonderful. A marvelous worship that took many hands, but was beautiful and meaningful. I’m grateful for all of you who helped make it possible, all of you who came to worship Christ, and especially our Staff and volunteers who work so tirelessly to make Christmas as magical as it is.
Over the next couple of weeks, some of those folks who darkened your doors as visitors last night, might drop by again to see if you’re the same congregation in the middle of January as you are on Christmas Eve. I encourage you to be mindful and to keep your eyes open for them. Welcome them warmly and let them know what and who we’re about. Show them all the love and care you yourselves experience every week.
I mentioned last night that my heart has longed for these worship services. My soul has ached to gather together like we did last night, mostly out from under the threat of pandemic, gathered to worship and praise God’s gift of love given to and for the world. Last night was a gift for which I’m thankful.
This morning is about the story. In Scripture and in song, we are being reminded of God’s love for us, come to us as an infant, born among us in order to save us.
Truly the most wonderful gift ever given.
Especially on Christmas Day, I’m fond of reading a wonderfully short poem by African-American pastor, poet, and civil rights leader Howard Thurman, and letting it speak as it is for the sermon. He says it, in my opinion, much better than I ever could. It’s a lovely piece that reflects on God’s incredible gift given to the world and how we might receive such a gift, what such a gift might mean for us. From his book, The Mood of Christmas, and Other Celebrations, it’s called The Work of Christmas, again by Howard Thurman.
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among [siblings],
To make music in the heart.
Merry Christmas, church.
Now the work of Christmas begins.