Summary: An indirect sermon focusing on God’s strange journey to our home.
- Every family has certain Christmas traditions. I would imagine your family is no different. Some families like to open their presents on Christmas Eve, others wait until Christmas morning. Some families who come from Catholic backgrounds will huddle up in the car and head to Midnight Mass, I still like to do that when I go home for Christmas. Other families will spend some time reading the Christmas story before opening their presents. What is it for you and your family? What traditions do you have? I can see you thinking about them right now.
- You are thinking about that grandmother who always sends you underwear and pajamas for Christmas. Or maybe you are thinking about that delicious ham that is prepared on Christmas Eve. Or you are thinking about the Egg Nog everybody enjoys, it only tastes good one month a year. I’m sure you are thinking of something. Something that you treasure, that is close to your heart. Some of you have long-held traditions, others of you are starting new traditions. Some of you will travel great distances to be with family, others will have family traveling to you.
- It’s different for all of us in many ways. But in other ways, it’s really not that different at all? Because, no matter what your family tradition may be. For all of us, the best place to spend Christmas is at Home. Maybe not your house, but at Home. Somewhere you feel comfortable, where you can be who you really are. Where you love and are loved in return. All of us want to "Come Home for Christmas."
- But a couple of milleniums ago, God did something very unusual. It was outright strange, incomprehensible. Nobody in all the world, even those who knew God by name would have guessed that God would have done what he did. And to this day, some still don’t believe it’s true. Instead of coming home for Christmas, God left his home to come to ours. He left his place of comfort, and became uncomfortable. He left the cozy glow of the fire to breath the cold air of the night. He journeyed from the assuring presence of Dad, and entered the uneasy world of anxiety.
- My family had a certain tradition as I was growing up. Every year it was the same thing. Every year we would put up our Christmas tree, a fake one. We would string the lights, and place the decorations on the tree, the pretty ones and the ones me and my sister made at school. We would put the tinsel and the candy canes up, and hang the stockings.
- And when it was all said and done, my mom and dad would take out the manger scene. It was always the same one. It was a typical manger scene, with Mary and Joseph and the donkeys and the spanish moss. It was made of wood, and it always had a musky odor to it from sitting in the attic all year long. But out it would come from the old tattered cardboard box, and my mother and father would gently place it under the tree front and center.
- But every year there was always something missing in that old nativity scene. All the characters were in place, the mom, the dad, the shepherds, the wise men, the animals, but the lead role was not there, the star of the show was missing. He wasn’t there. And every year, my sisters and myself would ask, "What about the baby? Where’s the baby?" And every year, my parents would say, "not yet, it’s not time for him yet."