Homily: December 27, 2015

December 27, 2015, YEAR C; Rev. Phil Boelter, Vicar From the Christmas story we learn that Christ appeared on earth

much as we do-

A tiny bundle of joy,     And fear,  And mess,

And much loved by doting parents.

 

There is something very comforting

in being able to think that God is somewhat at least like us.

 

That is one source of the humor in the Baby Jesus prayer:

made famous by Will Ferrell as Ricky Bobby

In the movie Talledega Nights:

 

Ricky prays:

Dear Lord Baby Jesus,

we thank you so much for this bountiful harvest

of Domino’s, KFC, and the always delicious Taco Bell.

 

I just want to take time to say thank you for my family,

my two beautiful, beautiful, handsome, striking sons,

Walker and Texas Ranger, or T.R. as we call him,

and of course, my red-hot smoking wife, Carley

….. Also wanna thank you for my best friend and teammate,

Cal Naughton Jr. who’s got my back no matter what.

 

His wife Carley interrupts:

Hey, you know, sweetie, Jesus did grow up.

You don’t always have to call him “baby.”

It’s a bit odd and off-putting to pray to a baby.

 

Ricky:

Well, I like the Christmas Jesus best and I’m saying grace.

When you say grace you can say it to grownup Jesus,

or teenage Jesus, or bearded Jesus or whoever you want. “

 

 

What kind of Jesus do we pray to?

 

Christmas began very inauspiciously,

With the world barely noticing….

 

A lowly manger,

Poor parents,

Sweet little baby boy-

Helpless in a manger.

 

But For John, the author of today’s gospel

Christ is much bigger than the babe born in Bethlehem.

 

John knows no infancy narrative-

The Evangelist portrays Christ coming from the bosom of the Father to earth,

Like an alien space ship descending to land in Israel.

 

In the beginning was the Word,

And the Word was with God,

And the Word WAS God.

 

All things were created through Him,

And in him all things hold together

 

For John,

Jesus is eternal,

Present way back at the Creation,

And Christ the Son of God is the glue

that holds the fractured universe together.

 

In fact,

For John,

Jesus is also God himself-

The Almighty Creator of heaven and earth and all that exists.

 

Sweet little helpless Baby Jesus?

Or the awesomely powerful God-Man?

 

Which is it?

 

The answer answer is both.

 

Only one who was truly God could have the resources to save us….

….. and only one born human like us could fully understand us and truly help us.

 

This is the unique message of Christmas….

 

That God is not far away in the heavens somewhere

The righteous Judge and lawgiver

Who doles out reward and punishment.

 

God is WITH US.

God is as near and as up close and personal

As the very air we breathe.

 

We simply need to recognize and trust that.

Sometimes that’s hard to do.

We so used to living the bifurcated life-

Our attention scattered,

Our trust in the universe challenged,

That we begin to think

This is simply the way life has to be.

 

Always searching, never finding.

Always in trouble, never content.

Always lost, never found.

 

The joy of Christmas is that for one tiny moment at least

We look at the baby Jesus,

We hold him in the arms of our heart

And we say to ourselves

“Everything’s going to be alright.”

 

But how do we get that once a year feeling

Into the other 364 days of our year?

 

We can pray to the little baby Jesus all we want.

But we’ve still got to live our lives the best way we can.

 

I’m happy to note that

the author of John’s gospel was totally realistic.

 

Note he says-

The world is still deeply in shadow-

Even though the light has come.

 

Even Jesus’ own people didn’t understand or receive the Light.

 

Yet the Light that is God shines in the darkness

And the darkness has not,

will not,

cannot

overcome it.

 

The wonderful thing about this image of light

is how it fits with our physical world.

 

One thing I don’t like about living in Minnesota

Is the deep midwinter darkness-

By the middle of December

We wake up in the dark-

Drive to work in the dark,

Go home in the dark.

Ugh.

 

No wonder people flee to the tanning salons

And to Florida and other points further south this time of year

 

But,

Conversely,

have you ever watched a sunrise?

 

The light of each new day just happens.

It’s beyond our control.

 

From a blue black eastern horizon,

We see first a glimmer

And then a lightening.

 

And, before we know it,

The day has dawned.

 

The good news of Christmas,

Is that the light has indeed come,

And He is here to stay.

 

Before we know it,

Beyond our control,

Without a shadow of a doubt.

 

The Light of God shines in the darkness…

… and the darkness has not overcome it.

 

May he shine evermore brightly this pale winter morning

And throughout our lives each day.

 

Amen.

 

 

 

 

SermonRev. Phil Boelter