Abiding with you forever in glory, O God, your only-begotten child is born among us in time.. May we ever welcome your Son to the warmth of an earthly home and so open for all earth's children a path that leads us home. We ask this through Christ, with whom you have raised us up in baptism, the Lord who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God for ever and ever. Amen.
From Prayers for Sunday and Seasons, Year C, Peter J. Scagnelli, LTP, 1992.
"This holiday familiarity is a particular problem for preachers. We must keep in mind that for some, the Christmas story has been regularly heard since childhood. And yet, these annual rehearsals have failed to reveal to contemporary audiences the jarring display of ancient culture the episode describes."
Commentary, Luke 2:1-14 [15-20] / Luke 2[1-7] 8-20, Joy Moore, Preaching This Week, WorkingPreacher.org, 2011.
"Nonetheless, it is to these unlikely and unworthy shepherds that the first news of the birth of Jesus is given, and not to the Kings, Caesars, and Governors mentioned at the beginning of this passage."
Holy Textures, Understanding the Bible in its own time and in ours, Luke 2:1-20, David Ewart, 2010.
Yet into this ancient world and our world today comes the message that the prophesy is fulfilled. God is in our midst. Do not be afraid. In fact rejoice and be glad. Look for God in the least of these, in the form of a child. Here you will find him.
Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.10But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people:11to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.12This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.”
And the lantern light of the simple place, Yahweh,
We share with you, O God of Creation,
For you come alive again tonight
In the blood and water of your people.
Yes, this is the time we have waited for.
This is the moment of blessing.
Holy is birth,
And you shall show yourself from age to age
In those who enter into creation with you.
You have shown the power of a dream enfleshed
And we are humbled.
You have pulled down all our strivings
And lifted up this simple, common moment.
This stable is filled with good things,
New life and happy people.
Are those in the inn rooms as satisfied?
Mindful of our shared nature,
. . . according to the promise of Eden. . .
mindful of our nature to seek the wisdom of new life together
as long as we walk the earth.
We are invited to retell the story that we might be reminded of our work to be heralds of good news and glad tidings for our family, our friends, and our neighbors.
And, we are invited to retell the story because in it we are reminded that the child wrapped in linen and laid in a manger shall be our savior wrapped in cloth and lain in a rock tomb.
This is our God, this is our Messiah. In this Christmastide may we be aware that God has come and that we are his followers.
For those whointentionally choose to remember we recognize that the birth of Jesus was a prophetic challenge to the world order; and that those who find their being in his sacred story and follow his way are to challenge the world order with ethical and moral sensitivity. We are to speak truth and act in a world hungering for deliverance from greed, poverty, oppression, malnutrition, abuse, illness, war, and all the other dark and evil powers we have created and come to know. It is not to Caesar Augustus or Quirinius that this God comes to, but the God we believe in comes to the lowly. So it is that we are to open our hearts to this God that our own lowliness and shame may be transformed. So it is that we are to open our hand and lives to those around us. We are like the angels, the shepherds, the inn keeper, and the holy family to make room for this God in our lives, and in so doing to make room in the world for the kingdom of God.
Some Thoughts on Titus 2:11-14
"Living zealously, wisely, righteously, godly, and expectantly may, in some situations, appear as gentleness and align with the general mores of the wider society. At other times, however, that way of life may manifest as boldness and challenge to the narrative of the good life the present culture embraces."
Commentary, Titus 2:11-14, Amy L.B. Peeler, Preaching This Week, WorkingPreacher.org, 2012.
Some Thoughts Isaiah 9:2-7
"As far as I know, there is only one good reason for believing that he was who he said he was. One of the crooks he was strung up with put it this way: 'If you are the Christ, save yourself and us' (Luke 23:39). Save us from whatever we need most to be saved from. Save us from each other. Save us from ourselves. Save us from death both beyond the grave and before. If he is, he can. If he isn't, he can't. It may be that the only way in the world to find out is to give him the chance, whatever that involves. It may be just as simple and just as complicated as that."
"Messiah," sermon discussion from Frederick Buechner, Frederick Buechner Blog.
Commentary, Isaiah 9:2-7, Dirk G. Lange, Preaching This Week,WorkingPreacher.org, 2012.
Commentary, Isaiah 9:2-7, Patricia Tull, Preaching This Week,WorkingPreacher.org, 2011.
Oremus Online NRSV Epistle Text
In other words the passage is about revelation - it is about the mission to the gentiles. The light that comes into the world is the brightness of the Christ who will draw not only the people of Israel to him BUT it is the light that will in fact draw all people into the embrace of God.
Christ in this way is not simply a Christ for Israel, or even for Christians in our own day...but a Christ that is present in the world as ruler of all, as king of all, as lord of all. His kingdom is marked with love, mercy, kindness, and peace for all who enter and become its citizens.
Christmas Eve: Awash in God's Love and Fruitcake
Dec 25, 2012