Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Glory to God in the Highest and Peace to God's People on Earth! A Christmas Eve Sermon

We are never ready enough.  Every single time we have guests.  The same thing.  We are never ready.   The house is still a mess, the dust bunnies proclivities giving birth to what can best be referred to as “dust dragons”,  we can’t find the “good sheets” for the guest bed, it’s sunday and we forgot to get the wine, don’t look too carefully in the corners, and the fridge drawers carry the drips and drops of milk caps left unscrewed and maple syrup drips left un-wiped.  Squabbles to the last moment about who should have done what to get ready, and toddlers spilling and cats rolling and, then, and then, they arrive...
It really doesn’t matter who, but what matters is that they are here and cannot be uninvited and we may be ready or we probably won’t be.  But, they cannot be turned away...
And, it is Christmas, and we are not ready.  No one is ever ready for the baby to be born, no one is ever ready for the breaking in of the light, no one is ready.  
The world is not ready and yet it is here--love comes down, and we claim the faith of Jesus; unto us a Son is born and the angels announce his coming.  Ready or not, with our hearts troubled and cheeks wet with untold sufferings; ready or not, with brokenness and separation; ready or not, with pain and joy; ready or not...At last and too soon, comes the infant Christ.  In a manger, in the midst of danger.  At last and too soon, already but not yet...
Madeleine L’Engle, author and artist in residence at St. John the Divine in New York City, wrote in her poem “First Coming” 
He did not wait till the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace.
He came when the Heavens were unsteady,
and prisoners cried out for release.
He did not wait for the perfect time.
He came when the need was deep and great.
He dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine.
He did not wait till hearts were pure.
In joy he came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
he came, and his Light would not go out.
He came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.
We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!
We are not ready, in a way it is BECAUSE we are not ready that Jesus is born into this world.  To release the captives, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.  To proclaim peace and bring light to the shadows of our hearts.  
War, torture, slaughter, pain, grief, death, loss...just when the love of God feels most distant.  Just when we think there can be no hope.  When the darkness overwhelms.  In THIS, THIS imperfect time, and an imperfect place.  
The baby is born.  
And, hope is thrust into the world.  A hard hope, a difficult hope, an impossible hope.  
And, with that hope, all is possible.   
And, allow me to say it now--here, in this place, with all of you as witnesses--
Merry Christmas!  Merry Defiant Proclamation of Love in the Midst of Darkness!  Merry day when love wins again!  Merry day when God first walked amongst us!  
The people who walk in darkness have seen a great light! 
We walk in darkness, in the midst of oppression and the midst of war--and in this darkness shines a light that overcomes all of it, that transforms the world and carries with it the hope of the multitudes.  
The strength of love, in the face of the forces that seek to tear it down, is a truth that I hold dear and that brings me comfort as winter sets in…love and light will always prevail.  This is the promise of God, this is the light that glows through the coldest of nights, “there is a light in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it”
We have something that the forces of evil in this world will always underestimate.  We have love.  We have the power to walk through the darkness while burning with light.  We have all we need to proclaim life where others see only death.  
Human beings, drawn to light.  Human beings, hungry for beauty.  Human beings, lifting our voice with angels and archangels...
Glory to God in the highest and peace to God’s people on earth!  
Say it with me--Glory to God in the highest and peace to God’s people on earth!
Ushers, open the doors...swing them wide!  
Say it again, proclaim it to the heavens, to our community, to this hurting world!
Glory to God in the highest and Peace to God’s people on earth!  
Name it and claim it!  We are called to the light!  We carry the light.  With the wee babe in the manger we have all we need to call the world to a new way, to a the way of justice, the way of love, the way of mercy, the way of God with us, the way of a newborn baby and the messengers of God proclaim.
Glory to God in the highest and Peace to God’s people on earth!!!!