Sermons

Summary: A Christmas sermon based on the John Lewis Advert 2018 (where Elton John plays the piano and flashes back through his memories)

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Hashtag - “Some gifts are more than just a gift”

{play music snippet} “I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words”

“In the beginning was the Word”

{play music snippet} “I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words”

“And the Word was with God and the Word was God”

{play music snippet} “I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words”

“And the Word became flesh and lived among us”

{play music snippet} “I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words”

Hashtag - “Some gifts are more than just a gift”

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Elton John sits at a piano, reflecting back on his past.

As the song plays in the background, we flash back- concerts in the 80s and 90s - great triumphs, Elton John playing at Wembley, Elton John playing at other star studded occasions.

As song plays in the background - his memories flash back even further. A school recital as a nervous young performs in public for the first time, his adoring mum looking on from the audience.

The Song plays on - and we flash back one step further - to Christmas day and a huge piano entombed in wrapping paper and an excited tiny little boy, his mother looking on, rips the wrapping paper off and plays his first note.

The John Lewis Christmas Ad. Hashtag - “Some gifts are more than just a gift”

Christmas is a time when we think back to our childhoods. If you can’t be nostalgic at Christmas time, when can you be nostalgic?

If you listen to the songs in the charts - “Last Christmas I gave you my heart but the very next day you gave it away” - The same songs have been in the charts for decades. It’s the same with carols - perhaps we can cope with one new carol - but really we want the old favourites. We want Christmas to take us back like Elton John to happy Childhood memories.

This may your first Midnight Mass, or you may have been coming for years, but I am sure that you at least have memories of School nativity plays, of donning the tea towel to become a shepherd or a circle of tinsel to become an angel. Or if you were unlucky like me - a donkey mask - “hee haw…”

Life can be tough. Life can be dark.

Some of you will have been having a bad year. May be there is financial pressure. Maybe you are anxious about Brexit. Or anxious that it won’t happen. Maybe you are grieving someone who always used to sit at the Christmas table with you and won’t be there this year. Maybe your relationship is under strain. Tragically more people consult divorce lawyers on January 2nd than on any other day of the year. Or maybe life is good, but it is still just hard getting everything done. You love your baby…. But you wish she would let you sleep. You love your job - but you are soooo glad to have a few days off.

Christmas seemed so much simpler when you were a six year old ripping the wrapping paper off just as little Elton did.

Christmas wasn’t easy for Mary and Joseph. Struggling with other people’s opinions of them because Mary is pregnant out of wedlock. Forced to travel from one end of the country to the other because of a government census. After the birth, fleeing the country to escape persecution from Herod, living as asylum seekers in Egypt. And before that - the birth. No maternity hospital. No proper bed. Just a barn to give birth to a baby in.

… but some gifts are more than just a gift.

{play music snippet} “I hope you don’t mind, I hope you don’t mind that I put down in words”

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.

God’s gift, in the midst of the chaos of life, in the midst of the darkness - is to become flesh. To become one of us. And step by step - to put it right.

“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.

In midst of whatever we fear - God brings hope. The hope that comes from knowing the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.

Some gifts are more than just a gift.

The elderly Elton John plays a note, and his mind flashes back - flashes back through scenes of great triumph to that school concert as his mother looks on supportively and back - to that Christmas morning as he unwraps the piano in front of his mother’s adoring gaze.

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