Christmas Eve 2015 Sermon
So it seems that one thing that our family has acquired over the years is nativity scenes. We have one that means a lot to us that we brought back from Uganda in Africa ten years ago and that’s our family nativity scene. But beyond that we have been given a few others. And we have a few kid-friendly manger scenes too.
So about a month ago I my daughter and I were up early in the morning and playing in the basement to keep quiet for everyone else in the house and somehow she got a hold of one of her child-friendly nativity scenes. Those ones that come in a nice, plastic mold package with a space for every piece. And the next thing I know, the pieces are out of the packaging and all over the floor and begin to get explored and played with. So I said, “Hey, want to set up the manger scene together?” So we started. We put the shelter together; we placed the shepherds and the wise men, we got Joseph and Mary together in the middle, there was the little manger piece where Jesus goes… and then I couldn’t find the Baby Jesus piece. So I took a look around the room and didn’t see it. So I started looking under the couch, the TV stand, in the cushions on the furniture and so on… and couldn’t find it. So I stopped and thought, “If I can’t find this, what do you do with a nativity scene that’s missing the baby Jesus?” There’s probably nothing quite as useless as a nativity scene that’s permanently missing the baby Jesus. You probably couldn’t even sell it at a yard sale. What do you call a nativity scene without a baby Jesus? Sussex on a Friday night. So as I’m getting more frustrated, I stopped and thought: wait!! And turned the empty manger piece over and there on the other side was another manger painted with the Baby Jesus smiling with two thumbs up. He had been in my hand the whole time.
Our world has darkness. If you’re wondering what I mean by darkness these few words might make it little clearer: Refugee, Paris, fear, emptiness, sickness, death. Tonight we don’t need to talk about the fact that Jesus knew what it was to be homeless. We don’t need to talk about the fact that Jesus was a refugee. Tonight we are reminded that light busted its way into our dark world and became one of us.
Around 600 years before Jesus came to earth, there was a prophet God was telling things to; and he told him to write this about the future: “2*The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined… for unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given… and he shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace… “ What happens at Christmas? A star shining in the sky; glory shone around the shepherds as the angels sing, and in a manger, the one who came as the light of the world.
(lights off) Did you know that every year there are actually two mangers? There’s the actual one that Jesus slept in 2000 years ago… and there’s this one. This one is in your heart. Tonight each of us is an innkeeper who decides if there this room for Jesus. The same light that busted into the world’s darkness, wants to shine light into your heart and your life. And much like my nativity scene crisis from a month ago, Jesus is already here and he is already with you. All you have to do is say, “Yes Jesus – shine in my heart and my life.” Many of us resonate with the hymn “Silent Night” – There’s one line that has jumped out at me this year in the 3rd verse: See if you can finish this line: “Silent Night, Holy Night, Son of God, loves’ pure _________.” Light. There is a pure, peaceful, powerful light made for you.. and His name is Jesus. Thanks to him our lives can shine in fullness. Will there be room for Jesus in your manger forever?
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