SERMON 12/25/11 Christmas Day
On the beach, the crowd stood silent. Couples were holding each other, children were frozen in the time, and it was quiet and still. It was a sacred moment. The bright ball, our source of heat and light, was dipping ever lower below the horizon. The colors were vivid, the hues intense, the beauty overtaking. It was I guess holy, an instant in which creation was shouting praise to the glory of God. It was a sacred moment. God’s love brought about this beautiful, wonderful world, this vast and expansive universe, this expression of God’s love, God’s creative nature, this cosmos. God’s presence is in all that we survey and we the created, are very much intimately connected and woven into it. God acts and we respond. God creates and we have our being. God redeems and makes us whole and we show praise. Simply stated, God created and entered the life of creation in Christ, so that we might enter into the life of God. A sacred moment. God’s grace mediated through the ordinary. The sacred moment in which creator and created become whole. It was in the Incarnate One that God was fully present and it was the God created that redeems us in Christ and makes possible our salvation. God restores our relationship to God and each other in Christ and thus, our estrangement is healed.
The mystery of the “Word made Flesh” and the mystery of creation are mirrored in Christ. Theologian R. Kent Hughes asserts “The biblical doctrine of creation is a fundamental truth. Everything in the universe was made and put there by God. God has made it all, and He has made it through Jesus Christ. Because Jesus Christ is the Creator God of all things (Col. 1:16), we “can trust such a God with everything. Because He is Creator,” says Hughes, “He knows just what His creation, His people, need.”. R. Kent Hughes, John: That You May Believe (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1999), 18. This babe in the manger, this man who walked among us was fully divine and fully human is the one in whom we can trust because he knows our needs; he has experienced them himself. God in Christ who was and is and will be; was before time and through him creation emerged and by his life, death and resurrection, we are restored to union with God and each other. God did not create and then leave us to our own devices. No, God continues the work of creation through redemption.
God is not aloof and outside the realm of human existence. The Holy Spirit is God’s active presence in the world today. God breathed in the lives of the saints, and God is breathing into our lives today. God’s love present in creation is present today. God is no mere ethereal presence beyond and outside of us. God is active. A thought is a thought until it is made real by being conveyed either in speech or writing. Emotion is brain synapses until enacted through outward action. Illumination without anyone to illuminate is nothing. Spirit needs the flesh. The creative, redemptive, sustaining acts of God is in and through Jesus Christ, God in flesh; one of us, one with us, and us one with God.
The mystery of the manger is not so far from the mystery of God’s creative work in the beginning. In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God and through him all things were made. Our great Christian hope and the basis of our faith remains, that God does not abandon us, but walks with us. Glimpses of the mystery is all around us in the lives of our neighbors and in the beauty of creation. The presence of God’s grace is conveyed clearly to us in water and oil, and in bread and wine. The grace of baptism is a sacred moment. Holy Communion is a sacred moment. It is in these that we clearly come to know that God is with us, God is for us, God is, and we are made whole.