This is the Night: Celebrating Christ’s Birth-A Christmas Eve Sermon

Grace and Peace to you, beloved

On this night of nights,

When Life itself was transformed

And God, whom we thought was hidden

Revealed Godself

In the form,

Of a babe,

Christ, the Lord

Amen.

(pause)

It’s a reality that we cannot ignore,

That there are places in this world,

Where our sisters, brothers and siblings of faith

are huddled,

Against an ugly reality manifested,

In broken glass

Destroyed buildings

Wasted land

Waiting for that transformative Hope

(pause)

There are people,

Huddled in the darkness,

Because it is the only place

That they can come

To lament

To pray

To comfort one another

To worship!

To praise God in secret!

They are waiting

For a glimmer of that

Transformative LIGHT

Piercing the emptiness of this world

(pause)

We are too,

Gathered in the darkness

Waiting for that transformative Birth

This night,

When Jesus Christ was born

Born among where

The people needed Him most!

Not in spectacular marble halls,

Laid in the finest linen

Surrounded by splendor,

But,

Jesus was born,

In the midst

Of the wilderness

Isolated,

Among the downtrodden

Oppressed people

Out in the indifference

Beyond city gates

Jesus Christ was born,

Where the people needed to hear

To SEE

The Good News!

(pause)

“In that region there were shepherds

living in the fields,

keeping watch over their flock by night”

(pause)

We,

As people of faith,

Imagine these shepherds

Blissfully going about their duties

Imagining them somehow anticipating this peaceful night

This is the night!

We immerse ourselves in songs

Hymns,

Pausing for reflection

Among the candles

Allowing the Word of God

To speak a Word to us,

Of that transformative HOPE

That is in the Bread and the Wine,

The Body and Blood,

Of Jesus Christ,

This Good News

(pause)

But for a moment,

This night

As we are waiting,

We dig deeper,

Is it interesting to know,

That not only did the Angels reveal themselves

To Joseph

And Mary

Two ordinary people

But that the Good News

The Angels

Came to the shepherds-

This was not a noble profession

By those ancient standards

(Pause)

In fact,

Being a shepherd,

Amounted to the same as perhaps

As a retail clerk

Or a fast food employee

Or a migrant worker

Being a shepherd meant a

Dead end,

Poor position

Stuck at the bottom

Being a shepherd meant

Waiting, for something resembling

a

SIGN

Of REDEMPTION

And

HOPE

(pause)

That the Creator God had not forgotten them,

And that God stands with them,

Through their trials,

Through their embarrassment

Through their shame

Because they then,

As now

Taking on jobs

That citizens despised

Jobs that they consider beneath them,

Jobs that although vital

To how the wider community moves

Jobs that have ugly labels associated with them,

Jobs that only the uneducated

Lazy

Untalented

Could muster

These same labels were associated with the word

Shepherds,

(pause)

Shepherds were lumped in along

With the tax collectors,

With people considered to be sinners,

Were considered to be unclean

They didn’t keep the Sabbath holy,

Although their work almost was from sunrise,

To beyond sunset

It is perplexing to say in the least

How these shepherds were treated

Even as their work,

Were essential

To this

Ancient economy

And so,

The shepherds gathered,

In the stillness

Obscured from those

Who cast judgement

Discounting their humanity

Gathering to discuss

The inequality heaped upon them by the self-righteous

A way of liberation for their lives

And suddenly,

HOPE!

(pause)

The Good News doesn’t come to

The religious

The self-righteous

But to the outsider

The forgotten

The desperate

God comes to where God is needed the MOST

In the midst of their wilderness

In the midst of our wilderness

In those painful places,

Where we must admit,

As a broken people

We too, are still waiting

For HOPE

For the coming

Of the Kingdom

Of God!

(pause)

And this,

Is that Good News!

“Do not be afraid; for see —

I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people”

ALL the people,

The common folk,

The Gentiles

The poor

The lepers

The migrants

The undocumented

The parents who weep for their children

The women who wring their hands

And wail into emptiness

(pause)

Yes,

The Good News is indeed for all

It is joy to those who suffer

“to you is born this day

in the city of David a Savior,

who is the Messiah,

the Lord”

A SAVIOR!

The Good News for us, beloved

Is that Jesus Christ,

Is indeed

OUR SAVIOR

THE SAVIOR

Jesus was born,

To FREE US

From Bondage!

Bondage to Sin

Bondage from oppression

And evil

That binds us to this world

(pause)

Salvation is merely not just a ticket

To heaven,

Salvation means,

LIBERATION

Jesus Christ is

LIBERATION

Therefore even as we struggle

Daily,

Because of this night,

Our lives are forever,

FREE

So go proclaim this Good News!

Christ is BORN!

Thanks Be to God.

Child of Creator=Purpose; Guided by Ancestors = Revolution; Empowered by Holy Spirit = Transformation; Liberated through Ancient Spirituality and Ritual =Love.