December 24, 2014
I’m glad you’re here tonight. I imagine you’ve had a lot on your plate the last few weeks. I have too. But it has been sweet to hear the familiar Christmas story and to sing carols. It has been lovely just to sit in this beautiful space and be still and perhaps rethink our images of God. We’ve heard stories about stars and angels, shepherds and wise men—all such foreign experiences in our daily lives.
The birth of Jesus is an invitation to rethink everything including our images of God. Most of us hold multiple images of God from Bible stories without realizing it—some good and helpful, others maybe not so much. Tonight we are invited to see God in a mother lovingly tending a newborn baby. We hear God proclaim peace to the world through an angel choir. We are invited to think of ordinary surroundings as places where God’s presence is revealed, instead of ornate temples and palaces. In the Biblical record we can see images of God changing from those held by long-ago tribes who worshiped multiple gods to Yahweh, the living God of Israel whose name was I Am. Even images of Yahweh were transformed over the years as human experiences of God grew more relational and less fearful.
But Jesus knew God in a different way. His relationship was intimate and loving. When we look at God through Jesus’ eyes, we see an infinitely loving parent who desires healing and wholeness for each one of us. Can you imagine God loving you that way? It’s true. The gift of Christmas is God’s extraordinary love revealed in a human child. We are invited to feel the pulse of that love when we hold a newborn child; to feel protective and over the moon—consumed by love as vast and deep as the ocean.
That’s how you are loved tonight and every day and night of your life. Just because you are you, unique in the universe, and precious to God. The love light of God is shining on you, tonight and always. We may not feel God’s presence or that love light all the time. But when we choose to honor God’s light in others and in creation, light and love and abundant life bubble up within us like a fountain. So when you imagine all the light and love that surrounds the baby in the manger, know that the same light and love surround you, Beloved of God.