Sermons

Summary: Are you an outsider because you are a naughty elf or a rubbished Rudolph? Someone is coming to turn you into an insider

.......

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Had a very shiny nose

And if you ever saw it

You would even say it glows

.

All of the other reindeer

Used to laugh and call him names

They never let poor Rudolph

Join in any reindeer games [1]

…………………………

Perhaps it was something to do with living in a dark cupboard, but Harry had always been small and skinny for his age. He looked even smaller ad skinnier than he was because all he had to wear were old clothes of Dudley’s and Dudley was about four times bigger than he was. Harry had a thin face, knobbly knees, black hair and bright green eyes. He wore round glasses held together with a lot of sellotape because of all the times Dudley had punched him on the nose... Harry {potter} lay in his dark cupboard… wishing he had a watch. He didn’t know what time it was and he couldn’t be sure the Dursleys were asleep yet. Until they were, he couldn’t risk sneaking to the kitchen for some food. He’d lived with the Dursleys almost ten years, ten miserable years, as long as he could remember, ever since he had been a baby and his parents had died in that car crash. He couldn’t remember being in the car when his parents died. Sometimes when he strained his memory during his long hours in the cupboard, he came up with a strange vision: a blinding flash of green light and a burning pain. This he supposed was the crash, though he couldn’t remember where tall the green light came from. He couldn’t remember his parents at all. His aunt and uncle never spoke about them, and of course he was forbidden to ask questions. There were no photographs of them in the house. When he was younger Harry had dreamed and dreamed of some unknown relation coming to take him away, but it had never happened; the Dursleys were his only family…..

At school Harry had no one. Everybody knew that Dudley’s gang hated that odd Harry Potter in his baggy clothes and broken glasses, and nobody liked to disagree with Dudley’s gang [2]

…………

“In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, watching over their flock by night.” [3]

It seems a noble career - the same profession as ancient King David. But by the 1st century BC it had become dispised. The Pharisees had spent decades defining what it was to be a good Jew. Thousands upon thousands of rituals that had to be performed to stay holy and pure. Pharisees who let’s face it - were privileged rich people who had plenty of time to perform rituals on entering a house, on eating a meal, on getting up from a meal, on leaving the house. Think of the middle class waitrose shopper who opines about the only moral food to buy is organic free range produce with no thought to the family on the Universal Credit who struggle to afford any food let alone organic free range food. So the pharisees looked down on those who failed to wash their hands a thousand times whilst reciting the right passages from the Torah. And the shepherds - Kings David’s profession - were cast out as unclean “stinky shepherds” - shivering on a hillside keeping watch over their flock by night.

…...

Or the Elf on the Shelf - a strange Christmas tradition - of an elf who spends every day doing naughty things. Perhaps some of you have these elves in your house - what have your elves done?

{take examples of elf on shelf doing bad things….}

……………….

And you … when have you felt like an outsider? Perhaps at school where someone is bullying you? Perhaps as a teenager when all the other kids were cool and you were not? Perhaps at work where one person seems to be the bosses favourite and get promoted for no real reason, and however hard you work you seem overlooked? Perhaps as a twenty year old getting pulled over by the police for “stop and search” because the colour of your skin somehow makes you look like a criminal? Or perhaps normally you feel absolutely fine, but in certain social situations you feel not quite included - uncomfortable and on the edge - trying too hard to fit in.

Have you ever felt on the edge, your heart restless because you don’t fit in?

when have you felt like an outsider?

…………………….

And what of a baby - laid in a manger, because there no there was no room for them in the inn? [4] The one who was God himself - “The Word who was with God and the word who was God” - and yet God yet God chooses to be born as the one who is as Isaiah put it “despised and rejected” [5]. Think of Rohingya forced by the authorities out of Burma where they have been living for four generations to return to their so called home of Bangladesh. So Joseph is forced by the authorities to leave the town of Nazareth, perhaps the only town he has known, and travel with his pregnant fiance Mary hundreds of miles away to his supposed home town of Bethlehem.

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