Sunday, December 23, 2012

Advent XXII

Today the church pushes aside the somber notes of Advent.  Today the church pushes aside the mood of waiting.  Today the church sounds the notes of Christmas and celebrates in the now what we have been anticipating for so long.  In many places the crowd gathered is only surpassed by what we experience on Easter Sunday morning.  The Sunday before Christmas is a great moment of worship for the church.  The music of Christmas fills the sanctuary and the preacher experiences a moment of trying to say in a new way a timeless word that has been preached for centuries.   A wise layman told me some years ago not to worry about Christmas Sunday preaching because, "Anything you might say has been said by now."
Of course, he was right.  Yet, still his words grant no license for taking lightly the task of proclaiming the message of the Incarnation.  It is a message which surpasses adjectives and superlative language.  It is a message which goes beyond the ability of mortal tongues.  After all, the first time it was announced, angels were given the joyful responsibility of proclamation.  Was it not an angel who said, "I bring you good news of great joy for all the you is born...a Savior."  (Luke 2:10-11)  Yet, today is a day for mortals like me and others who dare to preach to tell the most important story ever told for the ears and hearts of the people of the world.

A Savior has been born for us.  The child in the cradle in Bethlehem was born for a cross on Golgotha.  His life was different from beginning to end.  It was a life lived to show us all how much we are loved by God and the lengths to which He will go to enable us to claim that we belong to Him.  He came to save us from the one thing we can do nothing about--our sins.  When we sin we have no eraser to wipe the slate clean again.  Starting over is not an option.  But, through this One born in Bethlehem what we cannot claim as possible is made possible.  Once again we can experience what it is to be at one with the God who has brought us into being and given us a divine purpose for living.  What a gift He gives to us!

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