Christmas Eve 2021
Christmas Eve – 2021
Christ is born this night! Come let us worship!
The birth of Jesus is a radical event, and in breaking of creation by God. A disruption to our daily lives by God who wishes to tell us that we are loved, cherished, and cared for.
Thank you for joining us this Christmas Eve to welcome the Christ child into our lives once again.
Thank you to everyone who participated in tonights service:
Riley Coleman, John Hyma, Janet Leadbeater, Rob & Saskia Lenters, Helen & Jaclyn McDougall, Brian & Carol Anne MacInnes, Peter Sandziuk, and Nancy Williams
Luke 2: 1-5
In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child.
It is difficult for us to fathom what Mary and Joseph must have endured. A young unmarried couple, expecting a child. Perhaps not now, but once upon a time not so long ago, society would have raised its eyebrows at news of an unwed woman who was pregnant. Good families didn’t allow that to happen. Yet, this is how God decided to enter the world. A young, unprepared, unwed couple who would undertake a difficult journey. They would face rejection and settle for what was offered, a cattle stall in the manger. Let us gather around them in adoration as the choir sings O come all ye faithful.
Luke 2: 6-8
While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
God did not come to us in the places of power. God arrives humbly, in the least likely of places. It wasn’t kings, princes or priests who first greeted Jesus, but shepherds. Individuals who lived on the fringes of society.
So where is this God revealing God’s self? Certainly not in the “safe” world, but at the edge, at the bottom, among those people and places where we don’t want to find God, where we don’t look for God, where we don’t expect God. The way we’ve shaped Christianity, one would think it was all about being nice and middle class and “normal” and under the law. In the Gospels, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph are none of those things, so they might just be telling us we should be looking elsewhere for our status and dignity. Maybe the reason that our knowledge of God is so limited is because we’ve been looking for God in places we consider nice and pretty. Instead, God chooses the ordinary and messy. (Richard Rohr)
Luke 2: 9-14
Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”
Why would the shepherds be afraid? Why would we be afraid? It might be because if you read an actual description of what an angel looks like, well it’s terrifying. It’s not the white robed, white winged figure with golden halo we use at this time of year. Though that image is seen somewhat at the end of the gospels, the Old Testament description of an angel is terrifying.
But why open with the words “Do not be afraid?” We are so accustomed to the nativity story that I think we miss just how astounding it is. God entering creation, taking on human flesh.
Richard Rohr writes, “The celebration of Christmas is not a sentimental waiting for a baby to be born, but much more an asking for history to be born! (see Romans 8:20–23). Any spirituality that makes too much of the baby Jesus is perhaps not yet ready for real life. God clearly wants friends, partners, and images, if we are to believe the biblical texts. God, it seems, wants mature religion and a free response from us.” (Richard Rohr)
That’s frightening, because it demands commitment and a response from us. God breaking into human history, God actively being a part of the story of our lives is more than a child in a manger. It’s a recreation, a rethinking of all that we know.
Luke 2: 15-20
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
In a recent letter to the Presbyterian Church, current Moderator the Rev. Dr. Daniel Scott shared this words from Madeleine L’Engle “[Christ] did not wait for the perfect time. He came when the need was deep and great. In joy he came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt. To a world like ours…he came, and his Light would not go out. We cannot wait till the world is sane to raise our songs with joyful voice, for to share our grief, to touch our pain, He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!”
I would urge you, don’t wait for the perfect time. Don’t wait for the right time, the most opportune time. Pick every time, every moment to rejoice in the Good News and to share it with those whom you love.
St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Cobourg is part of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. The congregation was established in 1833 and continues to serve the community.
St. Andrew’s supports the gathering of community agencies, providing space for the Affordable Housing Committee. Rev. Ellis’ voice is key in advocating for improvements in awareness, empathy and action on key determinants such as housing, income and food security.
Donate to St. Andrew's
Thank you for visiting St. Andrew’s. It’s our prayer that this sermon was helpful to your walk of faith. We would ask you to prayerful consider donating to the mission of St. Andrew’s. You can make an online donation through our website.