Summary: A sermon for Christmas Eve.
“Room In Your Heart?”
Author Phillip Yancey once wrote:
“How did Christmas day feel to God?
Imagine for a moment becoming a baby again: giving up language and muscle coordination, and the ability to eat solid food and control your bladder.
Or imagine yourself becoming a sea slug—that analogy is probably closer.
On that day in Bethlehem, the Maker of All that Is took form as a helpless, dependant newborn.”
I think we sometimes forget the incredibly radical nature of this story because it’s so familiar to us and so often romanticized on Christmas cards and nativity scenes.
But it is hard-core stuff!!!
A travel-weary couple gives birth to a Baby and lays Him in a feeding trough, in a smelly barn.
And it’s very human and ordinary with sweat, blood; makeshift blankets and diapers; and the raw, immediate joy that comes with new life!
Jesus Christ, God With Us, the Good News made Flesh…
…comes into this world as an ordinary baby, born to an ordinary mother, lying in a makeshift crib that is so pathetic we ought to take pity.
Then there are the shepherds.
Shepherds were thought to be such low-life’s in those days; they lived outside the boundaries of “polite society,” were assumed to live shiftless lives, and would hardly be considered trustworthy sources for any important news!
And yet they are the first to hear, the first to see, the first to tell of Jesus’ birth!!!
It’s almost too scandalous.
Why didn’t God come into this world with “shock and awe”?
Why did God choose to be born into such poverty when He could easily have chosen to be born into luxury?
But the Apostle Paul indicates that this is God’s way, as he writes to the Christians in Corinth:
“Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are.”
This is a description of Reality!
These Words give us insight into how the Kingdom works and what God is like.
They also indicate to us that the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is found today in the lives and witness of people we might not necessarily see as being strong or powerful.
We live in a culture that puts a lot of stock in following the ways of the influential, the good-looking, and the rich.
So, what does it mean to say that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was born in a barn?
Does it mean that we are so often—way off base?
That we are so often—not living in Reality, and not living according to the ways of God and the Kingdom?
Has it ever occurred to you that finding the Messiah in such impoverished circumstances was as amazing 2,000 years ago as it would be today?
I mean the people were looking for a violent and conquering hero/slash revolutionary to overturn Rome and put Israel back on top.
They expected someone rich and charming, like David.
A royal warrior.
And here we have a fragile baby with dirt on his face, born to refugee parents, in a dirty, smelly barn, laying in the feeding trough…
…and this is the Savior of the world?!!!
Would we believe it if we were led today to a newborn Savior in a homeless shelter or a truck stop or in a box under a bridge?
But here we have it, in the Bible: the Savior of the world, the Word
Incarnate, God takes on human form as a poverty-stricken infant.
It’s interesting, that Luke mentions the manger three times.
Jesus isn’t resting on a pile of quilts in the corner, but in the feeding place.
This baby, resting in a manger on the night of His birth, is the “bread of God…which comes down from heaven and gives life to the world,” the very “bread of life.”
Next time we gather around the Communion Table, remember this Holy Mystery: that though it is beyond our comprehension, God took on human form, lived among us, suffered for us, died and rose again, so that we might know true life and be saved in this world and the next!!!
Pretty amazing, huh?
So, we aren’t romanticizing Christmas this evening.
This is the real, nitty-gritty stuff!!!
And it’s such good news!!!
One Christmas Eve we were invited to a party where gifts were given out to the children who were present.
One gift was a fairly good sized doll, packaged in one of those boxes that have the see-through plastic so you can get a good look at what is inside.