The Blue Mountains Franciscan Church
Sermon preached by Revd. Br Simeon efo
Sunday 25th December 2016: CHRISTMAS DAY. YR A.
Gospel: John 1: 1-14
“And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us . . .”
ne day a Pastor, a Vicar and an Atheist go on a fishing trip together. They are in the boat and the Pastor says,” Oh! No! I left the paddles on shore!” So he proceeds to get out of the boat and walk on the water to the shore to get them. Once he had gotten back into the boat the Vicar says,” Oh! No! I left the bait on shore too!” And like the Pastor the Vicar exits the boat and walks on the water to get the bait. When the Vicar climbs back into the boat the atheist yells,” Well if you guys can do it so can I!!!” and proceeds to climb out of the boat, but he falls into the water. At this point the Pastor says,” Do you think we should have told him where the rocks are?”
In the Name of the One God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
Firstly, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you and your loved ones a very Happy, Blessed and Holy Christmas. Today Christ is born once again amongst us in our hearts and in our homes.
This passage from John’s Gospel is so well known. We hear it every Christmas, and it becomes so familiar that the depth of it is often lost on us. The Gospel for Christmas Day is the beautiful Prologue hymn to John’s Gospel. With echoes of Genesis 1 (“In the beginning . . . ,” “the light shines on in darkness . . .”), John’s prologue exalts Christ as the creative Word of God that comes as the new light to illuminate God’s re-creation.
In the original Greek text, the phrase “made his dwelling place among is” is more accurately translated as “pitched his tent or tabernacle.” The image evokes the Exodus memory of the tent pitched by Israelites for the Ark of the Covenant. God sets up the tabernacle of the new covenant in the body of the Child of Bethlehem.
The humility and selflessness of Jesus that will be the centrepiece of his ministry and mission as the Messiah are first seen in his simple birth among the poor.
The true miracle of Christmas continues to take place in the Bethlehem’s of our hearts. In the emptiness of our souls, God forgives us, reassures us, exalts us, elates us, loves us.
Christmas is more than a birth of a child; it is the beginning of the Christ event that will transform and re-create human history, a presence that continues to this day and for all time.
In Jesus, the extraordinary love of God has taken our “flesh” and “made his dwelling among us.” In his “Word made flesh,” God touches us at the very core of our beings, perfectly expressing his constant and unchanging love.
Today we say to everyone around us both at home, the shops, and here at Church “Merry Christmas, may it be a blessed and holy one.!”. But have you stood for a minute in quiet to reflect on just what you have said to that person, what do/does those words mean! It means the child born in Bethlehem is none other than the living God come to declare Himself to us. In Jesus Christ the unknowable becomes knowable, the invisible becomes visible, the transcendent becomes intimate, the untouchable becomes touchable, the unreachable becomes embraceable. And God is never again a stranger to a believing heart.
To all whom you may encounter today, embrace them, wish them sincerely ‘Merry Christmas”, for you may not know it, but those words may be the most important and best words any present could be, bringing Christ once again to a fallen heart, a lost soul, that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords may reign in their hearts this day.!
Image VisitNSW.com. 2016. Glasshouse Rocks and Pillow Lava | Narooma Attraction. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/south-coast/batemans-bay-and-eurobodalla/narooma/attractions/glasshouse-rocks-and-pillow-lava. [Accessed 27 December 2016].