given on the 4th Sunday of Advent, December 21, 2014
Advent ends this week. We meet this morning to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. Over the weeks of Advent we have talked about the sounds, the promises, and the fears of Christmas. Today it is the truth of Christmas.
In the midst of a world filled with challenges, God loved the people despite all their flaws. He used every prophet, every leader, every set of parents he could to warn the ancient people to remain faithful, and to trust that he would meet all needs. A few clung to the promises and maintained hope while trusting in God.
The truth of Christmas is that God’s unconditional love for all of his creation led to the birth of Jesus. The warnings had not worked. Life’s challenges were wearing down the people. The magnitude of God’s unconditional love led him to send Jesus.
Jesus is the Word, as John explained in the opening of his gospel. He is God. He walked the roads just like we walk. He experienced the heat of a summer son, the dust blowing up in his eyes, and the chill of a northern wind. The truth of Jesus’ life is the truth of our lives.
The miracles, the compassion for the sick and the infirmed, the love for family and friends, and the concern he felt for the Apostles’ uncertainty are truly the same emotions and feelings we experience in our own lives. Jesus demonstrated how unconditional love can lead to solutions, can help us make decisions, and can show us how we can serve one another.
The truth of Christmas is that God meets our needs with unconditional love. We can also use unconditional love to keep Christmas alive in all that we do. God expects us to create harmony when we speak with each other, when we work side by side with each other, and when we take some time to relax and to play with one and another, too.
God waited years, thousands of years to see if we could learn the truth to leaving in peace. God never gave up, but a time came when words were not enough, the plagues had not worked, the trials and tribulations, the proof that he provided manna and even birth when it seemed impossible. The truth of Christmas is that we had to see, to touch, to know how to use unconditional love.
Are we able to unwrap this gift and use it? The truth is that we must. Accepting God’s gift means we accept our role as his children. And as we all know the people we are reflect our own human parents through genetics, but reflecting the unconditional love of God proves the truth of Christmas each and every day.
Let us greet Christmas Day with the enthusiasm of all the little children waiting for Santa’s visit. Let us watch with glee as the gifts are opened, the meal is shared, and the stories are told. Enjoy all the twinkling lights in the dark and the melodies filling the air. Share a hug as you greet guests and thank each other.
Christmas is one time each year that offers us a chance to thank God for his unconditional love. It is one day, one season that the truth of Christmas becomes so real. Unconditional love is demonstrated in so many different ways, but we must open this gift and share it year round. Use prayer continually. Study the Word as preserved in the scripture. Worship together. Be in community with one another as you work to carry God’s love to others around us and even in regions we cannot see.
Today we are closing in on Christmas, but Christmas is a truth that lives with us daily. God loved us so much that he sent us his son to teach us how to love unconditionally. Let us share the truth of Christmas with all that we know, too. We must give the gift of unconditional love.
Dear Gracious God,
Our world is filled with wrapping paper and ribbons.
Sometimes we see only the gifts under the tree.
May we open our hearts to know your gift,
The gift of your son Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
Guide us as we join our family and friends
For a celebration filled with unconditional love.
May the love we share with one another
Reflect the truth of Christmas, unconditional love,
That day when Mary and Joseph gave birth to Jesus. –Amen