Based on Portions of Luke 2: 1 – 20
Mini Reflection Christmas Eve 2017 7pm
Rev Julie Lees
Well thanks to all of the children here this evening, we have heard the story and know all the characters now – Mary and Joseph; the shepherds who were startled by the angels; the inn keeper and all the animals in the stable; the magi from other lands; and Jesus, the baby, who also happens to be a king – but not a king like the wise guys – and who also happens to be the son of God.
We learned that a bright star shone above where the baby lay and people took great pains to reach him and see him alive in the world.
We are not so different than those who traveled far to witness the birth of the Christ. Whether we come to church every week or once a year, we’ve arrived here tonight having been on a journey. You may think you are here out of habit, but I’d like to suggest you are also on a journey.
I hope that deep down we have great expectations for this moment in time. Expectations that the world will actually change; that we will be touched by the power of an angel’s message; that we will be moved to find God in this world, and to witness the Christ child among us.
Amidst the halls being decked, the lights of the Stanley Park Christmas train, one horse open sleighs; Santa Claus; shoppers with brightly wrapped gifts; Christmas trees, reindeers and even Hippopotami … amidst all this I pray your expectation to encounter the Christ child is met tonight.
Today’s culture teaches us to rely on ourselves and meet our own expectations. The pressure on us to be autonomous and not have to rely on anyone else – even God – is a heavy pressure, and it can easily pick away at our spiritual practices of talking to God or looking for the Holy in our lives.
And, when this happens we can begin to approach God and the stories of scripture with only our heads, and not our hearts. These are quaint tales we learned as children that we now bring our own children to so they can experience the magic of the season as we did. I mean, come on, these stories don’t really mean anything … do they?
I’m going to make two sweeping generalizations here – so be warned.
Adults in the room – I’d say it’s fair to conclude that our view of the world is most often seen through reason. And, what a gift this is because our years of living can offer great learning to the children in and around our lives.
And, children in the room – I’d say it’s fair to conclude that our view of the world is most often seen through wonder. And, what a gift this is because adults need to be reminded that not everything in the world makes sense, right?
For the Christmas story to make any sense at all we need to view it with reason and wonder – with our heads and our hearts. Listening to the story with our hearts open moves us beyond fact and history and pushes us into the realm of mystery and wonder.
With hearts open we can make more room for God to enter our lives, to be spell bound like the shepherds at the sight of the angels, to give our treasure – our very lives – in service to the Christ born then and now and again in our lives and the world.
The birth of Jesus – the birth of the son of God – the birth of Christ the King – was such a big deal that people had to write it down and speak of it in glorious ways. It was so wonderful and so mysterious and so magnificent that their stories don’t even capture all that must have happened right in front of their eyes.
I pray that the light of the world enters your heart this night. I pray we are all changed by the story once more. I pray that God’s grace and peace are present to each of us and therefore present to all those we meet on this grand and mysterious journey of life. Amen.