John 3: 16
Philippians 2: 6-11
Luke 2: 1-20
Christmas Eve, Family Friendly Service
Jesus is born! God is with us. We celebrate the birth of the Christ Child and we should also remember why he came.
God cared enough to change the world by sending a part of himself for us. Jesus was with God in the beginning, John tells us in his gospel. Jesus was first, and Jesus was near to God, God was near to Jesus. They were with each other. They also were each other. Jesus was God, and Jesus was with God, present from the beginning of everything. Everything from Christmas trees to ice to bugs to milkshakes was created through Jesus, and nothing was created outside of his being there.
And then, at the right time, Jesus came to earth. He had equal status with God, but put his great powers aside, emptied himself out, chose to lay aside being all powerful so that he could become fully human.
And he came in the human way, the way we came. Mary carried him for nine months, just like our mothers carried us, and he was born like all the rest of us.
And while Jesus was a human being, he didn’t reclaim the all powerful part of who he was. Sure, he did miraculous things, and he was very wise. But he only could do miracles and teach the people as much as the people, the sick as well as those who watched, believed in him. Where there was faith, he could work wonders and give great insight. Where there wasn’t, he couldn’t do much.
He lived as one of us, and died as one of us. But then he changed, and got back his God parts. His all-powerfulness was given back to him, and he rose from the dead. He was again with God, and he was again God.
While he was a human being, he gave us a great gift—we know now that it is possible to serve God the way Jesus did, because he, as a human being, did it. We shouldn’t assume that we can do all of the things that Jesus did, but then again, we aren’t being asked to do what Jesus did, either.
This is the gift we have been given. Through God’s love for us, and our paying attention to God, we can do anything that God wants us to do.
Jesus came to help us get gentler hands. It’s Jesus in the ability to cook for hundreds when you don’t even like to cook for yourself. It’s Jesus in the boy who drove around his city giving blankets to homeless people during the winter a few years ago.
It’s Jesus in the eyes of the person who stands up to the bully; it’s Jesus in the eyes of the person who has realized she is worth more than she’s been told.
He came to give us bigger ears. It’s Jesus in the willingness to listen to people without offering advice back. It’s Jesus in learning how to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes”.
When we feel like a big shot, that’s not Jesus. When we find ourselves having fun by hurting others, that’s not Jesus. When we feel that being a Christian is embarrassing or praying is beneath us, that’s not Jesus.
God is real, God cares, and God expects things from us. God doesn’t demand, but nonetheless, God expects things. And Jesus showed us that we can fulfill those expectations.
And here we are, with him now. He’s in the people around you. If you stand where I stand, you see Jesus in this assembled group. Stand up. Look around. See all those people? That’s Jesus, the Jesus with all of his God parts, all around you. And you are part of him. When we light our candles, those will be like God’s lights in us, and we will carry them out into the night, into the world. Just the way he wants us to.
Thank you God for sending your son. Thank you Jesus, for emptying yourself out for us, being born for us, and saving us. Thank you, Jesus, for choosing to save us.