Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Jesus is coming to town!

A couple of weeks ago I was sitting in our living room with my two kids.
We were taking a few minutes to admire our newly decorated tree and discuss Christmas.
My three year old son Charlie said to me, “Daddy Jesus is coming.”
Now for a pastor there is no greater moment of pride then when your children understand the true meaning and value of Christmas.
Here was my three year old son already understanding the true meaning of Christmas.
And just as I was thinking this he added, “Yeah, Jesus is coming to my house. He is going to come down the chimney.”
At first I laughed because I thought he had only gotten it half right.
But after thinking about it I realized that his statement was right on the money.
Jesus is coming to our houses this night.
The story of Christmas is amazing because it is the story of God coming into the world as a human being.

God the ruler of the universe, the master of all that is, came into the world and lived a life of a human.
Think about how great that is!
God cared enough about us that God’s son was willing to humble himself to come to be with us.
God loved us so much that he sent his Son who had full equality with God to be one of us.
And so tonight I’m telling you Charlie was right, Jesus comes into our homes.
Maybe not down the chimney, but he does come into our homes.
Jesus comes into our hearts.

Just as that first Christmas the angels came to the shepherds and told them the good news.
“To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.”
Tonight the angels give us that same message Jesus comes for us.
And Jesus does not come into our make believe lives but our real lives.
Our lives that are not a perfect Normal Rockwell painting.
Our lives that do not always look so glorious from the inside.
Our lives that are broken, imperfect, and full of sin those are the lives that Jesus comes into.
Because the manger reminds us that not only Jesus birth is humble, but his death will be humble as well.
It will be a death on a cross that is for the salvation of the world.

So tonight Jesus comes into our lives.
I remember a couple of Christmas’s ago I spent a lot of time in the hospital beside a parishioner who was dying.
A mist all the wires, peeps, and blood I realized that in that room I experienced God more than in all the time I had spent in the malls, parties, and caroling.
I saw the members of this persons family shed tears of sorrow for someone they love, I saw them give up their time and energy to be with this person.
That was where Jesus was.
It is the way Christ enters our lives at their lowest when they are the worst.
And it is always through others giving that we experience the true value and meaning of Christmas.
Because through these instruments of flesh and blood Jesus enters into our lives.

Jesus comes into our homes this night.
Because we will gather with friends and family.
We will give gifts that we have sacrificed to give.
We will share good wishes, and merriment.
I think these things too are part of how Christ enters our lives.
That first Christmas eve all the characters are joyful.
The angels, the shepherds, Mary and Joseph are praising God.
They are joyful at the birth of our savior.
We too should be joyful that our loved ones are with us, that we are healthy, and that we are loved by our God.
I regret that sometimes in Christmas as we Christians react to some of the over commercialization we forget to be happy and joyful as we celebrate the birth of Jesus.
This is a joyful night.
I love Christmas Eve service because it is joyful.
We all sing wonderful hymns, the choir brings joyful songs of praise to our God, the story of God’s peace to all the earth is told again.
Jesus comes to us in the celebration of our lives.

Jesus comes amongst the turmoil of the world.
In the story from Luke Jesus is born the middle of the rule of the Romans.
He is born in the middle of a census to count people for a tax.
He comes in the middle of war, economic upheaval, and uncertainty about the future.
We know that our world tonight is also unsettled.
Our country is fighting two wars.
The past year has brought economic calamities to many.
We have seen public figures lie, cheat, and steal all of our trust.
Into the middle of all that comes Jesus Christ.
Not undoing it, but saving us and redeeming the world.
I would like to suggest that in this place, at this worship service, for this time we are together celebrating the birth of Jesus everything is as it should be.
We are at peace, there is love, there is joy, our hearts are filled with God.
Think about it we are sitting here together singing songs about the birth of our savior.
We are remembering that God keeps the promises he made through the prophets, “behold the people who walked in darkness have seen a great light…For a child has been born for us, a son given to us..”
The promise given many years ago through the prophet Isaiah has been fulfilled.
We are remembering that to us is born a savior, to shed the light, to bring peace, love, and joy.
Yes the world is a crazy place, but Jesus Christ has come into the middle of it.
And tonight in this place everything is as it should be.

As we leave tonight, as we remember the birth of our savior, we remember that Jesus has come into our homes, into our world, into our hearts.
We celebrate tonight because to us is born a savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.

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