Summary: A sermon for Christmas Eve.
“What Gives Life Meaning?: The Most Jesus-Like Characteristic You Can Imagine”
In the story of Jesus’ birth, Luke begins with, “In those days…
“In those days…”
In those days things were like they are today.
Time was shaped by the powers that be.
The emperor reined.
“Caesar Augustus declared that everyone throughout the empire should be enrolled in the tax lists.”
“So everyone went to their own cities to be enrolled.”
Time was shaped by business as usual.
And this is the way we live today.
It was a time of the census and taxes and authoritative orders.
It was a time of pronouncements shaped by the world’s accepted power structures.
“In those days…”
Even the words sound tired and hopeless.
But something happens.
Something happens that is not “business as usual.”
Something extraordinary happens within the time-frame of the ordinary.
And this “something extraordinary” is an event that has happened and has changed the world!!!
There is a Savior, a Lord Who has inaugurated a new reign.
He is the Bridge that brings humankind back to God.
And, because of this life does have meaning after-all!!!
Sure, right now, for the time-being the drudgery of life is still here.
We have taxes.
Some of us have broken families.
Others of us are homeless.
Some of us have, what seem to be dead-end jobs.
Perhaps we feel as if everything and everyone is against us.
We get up in the morning with aching backs and muscles.
We face another day with angry co-workers or bad news.
But something is different.
Because within the “mess” and “hopelessness of this life” Love has been born.
God has come to rescue us.
God is with us.
We are not alone.
Therefore we can have peace in the midst of strife.
We can have joy in the midst of suffering.
We can have faith in the midst of troubles.
We can have hope in the midst of hopelessness.
We can have Love in a time of fear.
We are told in 1 John that love drives out fear.
And God is Love!!!
Jesus’ birth comes with the announcement of freedom and joy and peace!
“The angel said, ‘Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people.”
Yes, “Those days…” are governed by fear.
The political powers, in both Jesus’ day and our own, play on fear to get their way—whether its fear of the emperor, the fear of terrorists, the fear of a gunman entering our child’s school, or the fear of death.
But with the birth of Jesus comes a new possibility.
We no longer need to fear.
When God entered this world in human form, we were given the greatest confirmation possible.
We are loved.
We are not alone.
God is on our side.
Life has meaning!!!
Paul puts it so well in Romans Chapter 8: “If God is for us, who can be against us?...
… “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?...
…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in a all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
In our Scripture Lesson from 1 Corinthians 13, we are told that the one thing which counts above all else is love!!!
We are told that love never fails; it never dies; it never fades away.
It is our future.
It is Jesus Christ.
But as for the mundane and hopelessness of “In those days…”
That stuff will all come to an end.
Now “we know in part…but when the perfect comes, what is partial will be brought to an end.”
In the Kingdom of God, which will come on earth as it is in heaven, Love is the way of life.
And by embracing Jesus Christ, here and now, we begin living into God’s future here and now.
In verse 1 of 1 Corinthians 14 Paul tells us, “Go after a life of love as if your life depended on it—because it does.”
As for all this other junk, it will end.
And that gives life meaning.
Praise God and Amen.