Summary: A brief sermon for Christmas Eve.
“Jesus Was Born into the Real World—Our World”
There is an old story about a fisherman and his wife.
Like most fishermen, this guy worked hard for not much pay.
He was out before sunrise every morning and worked well into the day.
He would cast his nets again and again, hauling in fish to be sold to the market.
The fisherman made enough that he and his wife were able to get by, but that’s about it.
One day, the fisherman was having a particularly bad day; all he was pulling in was seaweed.
He was just about to give up and head home for the day when he decided to try one more time.
When the pulled the net in, he saw the most beautiful golden fish he had ever seen.
The fisherman knew immediately that this golden fish would bring in a lot of money at the market.
Not only would it make up for a bad day of fishing, this golden fish could bring in income to match a normal month of hard work!
Of course, the fisherman was thrilled, and was anxious to get back to town and sell the fish.
But as he started to pull the fish into the boat, it spoke to him.
Pleading to be spared, the fish begged the fisherman to throw him back into the water.
The fisherman paused long enough to reflect on the oddity of a talking fish, but then redoubled his efforts, realizing that a talking golden fish would bring in even more money.
Still, though, the fish continued, this time offering to fulfill any wish the man had if only the fisherman would throw him back into the water.
Becoming deeply disturbed by this strange, talking, golden fish, the man decides he wants nothing to do with it and releases it back into the water.
When the fisherman got home that evening and told his wife of this strange fish, she was mortified.
She was angry that her husband hadn’t hauled in the fish and taken it to the market for the money they so desperately needed.
But she was even more upset that he had let the fish go without asking it to fulfill a wish.
So, she ordered her husband to go back and find the fish the next day and tell the fish that they want to wish for a new home, a beautiful house like the mayor of the town has.
So, early the next morning, the fisherman climbed into his boat and headed out on the water to the area where he had caught the golden fish the day before.
When he got to the area, he leaned out over the water and called the golden fish.
After a few minutes, the fish appeared, and asked what the fisherman wanted.
The man explained that there is a wish he would like fulfilled.
The fisherman said that he and his wife have lived in a hut for all of their married lives and that he would like a beautiful home like that of the mayor.
The golden fish tells the fisherman that his wish is granted and then disappears below the surface.
When the fisherman returns home that day, he sees sitting where his hut once was, a beautiful home, just like that of the mayor.
But when he finds his wife inside, she is still angry.
“This is not good enough,” she says, “You should have asked for more!
We should have a mansion like the governor.”
Again, the fisherman is ordered to seek out the golden fish, this time to ask for a mansion like the governor’s.
And so he does, and again he returns home to a bigger home, a mansion like the governor’s.
But still, his wife is not happy.
This continues on and on, day after day.
The fisherman returns home to a castle like the lords, then a great palace like the king’s, but always an unhappy wife.
Eventually, his wife says to the fisherman, we should have a home that is fit for God himself.
We should have a palace like that which God would live in if God came to earth.
Again, she orders her husband back to the golden fish to make this request, and the fisherman goes.
And again, with the same ease as every day before, the golden fish says to the fisherman, “Your wish is granted.”
So, the fisherman heads back into town and toward his home.
But for some reason, the skyline has changed.
His palace, or castle, or mansion, which filled the skyline before is no longer there.
And when he tops the hill overlooking his home site, he understands why; there before him is the old hut.
There can be no doubt about it—Jesus Christ was born into the real world—our world.