Summary: Once each year, Christmas comes around again to remind us that God's Son has come to earth...and now we must do the singing! He came to earth to save us and reconcile us to the God who made us and loves us.
Well, it's all over with. The weeks of preparation, the four weeks of Advent, the pageants and concerts, the shopping, gift-wrapping, delivering, waiting for loved ones to come...it's all over, and the celebrations can begin. There's no better way to celebrate this joyous night than by singing. In fact, there is an ancient legend about the angel chorus that is mentioned in tonight's Gospel reading.
One day, God called the angels of heaven together for a special choir rehearsal. He told them he had a special song he wanted them to learn..a song they would sing at a very special occasion. The angels went to work on it. They rehearsed long and hard...with great focus and intensity. In fact, some of the angels grumbled a bit...but God insisted on a very high standard for his choir.
As time passed, the choir improved in tone, in rhythm, and in quality. Finally God announced that they were ready...but then he shocked them a bit. He told them that they would sing the song only once...and only on one night. There would be just one performance of this great song they had worked on so diligently. Again, some of the angels grumbled. The song was so extraordinarily beautiful and they had it down pat now...surely, they could sing it many, many times. God only smiled and told them that when the time came, they would understand.
Then one night, God called them together. He gathered them above a field just outside of Bethlehem. "It's time," God said to them..and the angels sang their song. O my, did they sing it! "Glory to God in the highest...and on earth peace and good will toward all..." And as the angels sang, they knew there would never be another night like this one.
When the angels returned to heaven, God reminded them that they would not formally sing that song again as an angelic choir, but if they wanted to, they could hum the song occasionally as individuals. One angel was bold enough to step forward and ask God why. Why could they not sing that majestic anthem again? They did it so well. It felt so right. Why couldn't they sing that great song anymore? "Because," God explained, "my son has been born...and now earth must do the singing!"
Once each year, Christmas comes around again to remind us that God's Son has come to earth...and now we must do the singing! He came to earth to save us and reconcile us to the God who made us and loves us. We need to be set right with God and we need to be right with other people.
It is more blessed to give than to receive, but tonight we are blessed with the greatest gift of all-the gift of Christ's arrival as a baby in the manger. Babies are like Christ in that they are both innocent. Christ was sin-free, but he made the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. God reached out through Christ to embrace a sinful, hurting world. Luke wants us to ponder the events of this night to find ourselves full of wonder, to consider the possibility that we, too, might glorify and praise God for all we have experienced because of the life of Christ child.