Summary: A Christmas Sermon.
By: Rev. Kenneth Emerson Sauer, Pastor of Parkview United Methodist Church, Newport News, VA
Last Monday, I was over at First United Methodist Church, and knowing that Sydney Kaloustian is enrolled in their pre-school I decided to pop in and say “hi.”
When I did ‘pop in’ I was greeted, not only by Sydney, but by about fifteen other wonderful three-year old faces…
…and each of them were so happy to see me…
…although they didn’t know me.
Also, each of them, in their childhood innocence, had a story to tell me…everyone of them at the same time.
They were very excited by their unexpected visitor, and I apologized to the gracious teacher who was in the middle of reading them a Christmas story.
It’s so neat how children become so excited and entertained by things that many of us might find quite mundane—like a visit by Sydney’s preacher.
What happens to us as we get older?
What happens to the child in us?
The child who loves people, and is so wide open to the world…
…the child who does not think in terms of race, social stature, or any of those other things?
Some of you have probably heard the story about my friend Jim’s first day at pre-school.
Jim met his first black person…another little child like himself.
When Jim’s mommy came to pick him up on that very first day, Jim pulled her by the hand to meet his new friend.
“Feel his hair, Mommy,” Jim said excitedly, “Isn’t it neat!”
Maybe Christmas is a good time for all of us to get in touch with the child that lives within us.
You remember the one.
It’s the child that found Jesus so attractive that we wanted to get up into His lap…
…it’s the child that can receive Jesus without the baggage that too often comes with ‘growing up’…
…it’s the child without a dark history of sin which deludes our minds, our consciences, our sense of Reality, right and wrong, and our interest in life!
The band, Pink Floyd has a song in which they sing: “This is not who I am, I have become comfortably numb.”
Maybe some of us can relate to those words this morning.
Our Scripture Lessons for this morning are talking to us about the Child.
This child is the expected Christ child and in this child we find “Immanuel” or “God with us.”
Fitting, isn’t it?
Remember what Jesus told us in Matthew chapter 18: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
Children are humble…
…so humble that they see the differences between themselves and others as something beautiful, something interesting and exciting—a gift from God, if you will.
Can we change, and become like that again?
We still have a child within us.
Let’s search for that child.
Let’s search for that child who finds magic and mystery and happy surprises in what God has created and called “Good.”
Isn’t it interesting that Isaiah sees the hope and promise of God fulfilled for the future in a child who will come with extraordinary wisdom and understanding?
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
Immanuel. How perfectly the name fits with our Lord!
Jesus Christ was born, and because of all He is and does for humankind we know that to Him alone belongs the name which means “God is with us.”
God came to us as a little child, in a mortal body.
This is an amazing and almost inconceivable thought.
But there is something about God and something about humans that makes such a thought…such a coming of the divine not all that incredible, but actually inevitable.
Because if God made us in His image, then we should expect that God would make Himself known to us.
And if God is indeed Love, nothing could keep Him from us!!!
Therefore the birth of the Christ child is a necessity.
God took the one way to express God’s love: He became one of us.
Through the birth and life of Jesus Christ God has spoken to us by human lips, and has looked upon us with human eyes…
…like the eyes of a child—who “knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right.”
In John chapter 1 we are told: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.”
In the Book of Acts we read that the Apostle Paul was in Athens and as he walked around that great city he saw that, because of all the idols they had erected, that they were very religious people.