2017 12 24 8 pm Faithful Celebration of the Birth of Jesus
One of my100 plus favourite hymns is “In the Bulb, There is a Flower”. The birth of the baby Jesus is like a seed. To our human eyes, all we see is a baby. In that birth was the healing of all the world, a healing that is not yet complete. Like some medications and surgical operations, that healing comes with pain and loss. It is clear from the Hebrew and Christian writings that God’s intent, the flower we have yet to see, is that all people should live in peace with themselves, with each other, and with the rest of life on the earth.
It may be another 100 or 1000 or 10,000 years before that is achieved, but it is where we are headed.
The faithful celebration of the birth of Jesus includes words and actions that bring that reality closer. For several Sundays, we sang “What can I give?” How can we celebrate the birth of Jesus in ways that support the purpose of that birth?
It begins with how we see and treat ourselves. Each of us is a loved child of God with great potential, and we need to see ourselves that way and treat ourselves well. In this way we increase our capacity to make a difference. If our messages to ourselves are negative, we need to find ways to change those messages, even if it includes getting help from someone else. We need some peace in our own hearts before we can effectively work for peace in the world.
Then we need to see those around us as loved children of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus. When we say mean things about other people or disrespect them, we are abusing the brothers and sisters of Jesus. The hard part of this comes from our relationships with people who irritate or challenge us. Each time we gossip, say mean things or show disrespect, we undermine the work of the kingdom of heaven. If we find ourselves being negative about others, we need to search out the roots of that negativity, and work at healing those roots. In our support and care for each other, and even those who hate us, we nurture a community able to work for peace in the world.
From there we, as we feel called, move on to work in the world at large, working for peace always.
For we who are here now, this includes reviewing what we currently do in our work for the Peace of Christ through our various programs at Deer Park and St. Andrew’s. How effective are they? How can they be made better? Then we move on to considering how we can help each and every person in our church communities feel able and invited to share in our task of helping people in the communities around us know that God loves them. The work of the church is not just for staff and volunteers: everyone of us, no matter how old or young or able, has opportunities to let others know about God’s unconditional love by our actions as well as our words.
Tomorrow, most of us will celebrate Christmas with family and friends. May that celebration be faithful to the birth of Jesus and continue on afterwards.
In a bulb is a flower that we cannot see. In the birth of Jesus was a world that is yet to be in completeness. May God bless each and everyone of us as we work for the unfolding of that world, faithfully celebrating the birth of Jesus. Amen.