RCL Christmas Day 2 (with the Gospel of Christmas Day 1 and 2)
Isaiah 62:6-12, Psalm 97, Titus 3:4-7, Saint Luke 2:1-20

You have come out on a winter’s night to hear the old story once again, the story of the emperor’s decree, of Mary and Joseph, and, of course, the baby, along with the poor shepherds and the glorious angels. And if you are like me, you cannot understand it too well. You know it contains the meaning of our lives, of the lives of all of us. And with humility, tonight I want to share with you what the old story means to me. The key to the old story you may find in the Epistle:

 “This Spirit he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”[1]

Just about two weeks ago, a fine woman, a grandmother, told me in front of her husband that Christmas is about the children, their wonder and their joy. Her husband quickly added, “What about me?” And, as fine as she is, he’s right. The old story is about every one of us, no exceptions.

Let’s start at the beginning.  The main word at Christmas is incarnation.  And the incarnation is God taking on human flesh. That is what the baby did, and that is who the baby is.

Christmas means incarnation, and incarnation means that God, by becoming one of us, endeavors to save every one of us, and he will do it graciously, one by one, loving us, taking pains over us (the pain of the cross), in order to bring us back to him.

The incarnation means that there is no such thing as a human life, no matter how helpless, or poor, or unwanted, or rejected, no such thing as a human life that is not worth living.

The incarnation means that every single one of us has an eternal destiny and appointment with God our maker and savior.  It means that every day of our lives is full of significance, is full of meaning, that every moment of our time on this earth is an occasion of providence and an opportunity for grace.

For that is what you heard in the Epistle. The old story means that you and I are eligible through the ministry of Jesus Christ to “become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

Why shouldn’t it happen to you and to me?  We were not made to be left out in the cold.  We were made to take our place alongside the Holy Family, Mary and Joseph, and the Shepherds who come in from the cold to be warmed, to be transformed, into Christ’s people, to be made Christians in the fullest sense of the word.  Christmas means that human flesh, not only of children but also the flesh of people of all ages, the flesh that drapes your bones, has been taken into the Divine Life. We have hope, solid hope, of eternal life.

The old story means all of these things, but in humility I say to you that you may discover its particular meaning to you. Follow the baby wherever he leads you. Follow him in his light and in his love.


[1] Titus 3:6-7.