Wednesday, December 26, 2018

"Prepare the Way: Arrive" - A Christmas Eve Meditation

Community UMC, Quincy
“Prepare the Way: Arrive”
Christmas Eve, December 24, 2018
Rev. Andrew Davis
Luke 2: 1-20

Here we are, gathered here together on this Holy night. After four weeks of waiting, watching, and preparing our hearts for the birth of Christ during the season of Advent, we have arrived. The cries of “Come, this Long Expected Jesus” and “O Come, O come Emmanuel” have now become cries of “O Come, Let Us Adore Him,” “Gloria in excelsis deo,” and “joy to the world, the Lord has come.” We have waited and after a four week journey, have arrived at the stable, encountering the newborn Christ with awe, new hope, and marveling at the new life before us.

Yet even we too can experience new life at Christmas. Christmas is time when our faith can be renewed, or an encounter with the Christian faith for the very first time. Christmas is a time of redemption, even when we feel like we’ve messed up in life too many times, because it’s never too late to receive the hope, peace, love, and joy that Christmas brings. Christmas is a time of reconciliation, just as we sang in Hark! The Herakd Angels Sing, God and sinners reconciled. As we heard in Isaiah foretelling of a new day, a light in the darkness, the birth of Jesus has brought a new day, not just then, but even to us here today.

No matter why you’re here tonight, a new day has arrived as we have prepared the way of the Lord. Tonight, hope, peace, love, and joy have arrived in the birth of a baby boy, but no ordinary baby either.  He will grow to bring about a new day to many. He will turn life as it was upside down. 

But, tonight, it’s a beginning and not the end all, as there is still work to be done. As we experience this new birth, we have an opportunity to mend a rift, to reach out to those who are lonely, to feed those who are hungry, and to lend an extra hand to those who may need it.  It’s not just for tonight or tomorrow, but all year long as the work of Christmas now begins.  I leave you tonight with one of my favorite poems by the late Dr. Howard Thurman called “The Mood of Christmas:”
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.[i]

That, dear friends is what this new day is about and what we have before us this coming year, as we have arrived at Christmas.  

In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, let the Church say, Amen and Merry Christmas.  

[i]Howard Thurman, “The Mood of Christmas,”, Accessed 24 December 2018.  

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