December 24, 2018 — Rev. Paula Norbert
Not so very long ago in the great history of humankind, and yet for us, a very long time indeed, a child was born in a little town called Bethlehem. And we know that he didn’t grow up to be a King or a great leader in terms of how we often think of political or religious leaders in our time, and yet, two thousand years later, here we are gathered tonight remembering a little baby born in the most humble of circumstances who came to speak to us of hope and came to teach us about Love.
He really didn’t travel that far from where he was born, although he did travel quite a bit compared to others of his day; he didn’t have a place in one of the big Temples in Jerusalem from which to speak; he walked along the dusty roads of an ancient land and reminded people that they were loved, that God had a plan for our world; that we weren’t just here randomly, but that we were here to care for one another, to live in peace, to treat all of our brothers and sisters with dignity and respect, that there is a purpose for our lives.
We may at times feel great sorrow and despair for all the places in our world where this message still is not being lived out, where war and hunger and suffering and sorrow are the lived reality of far too many people, and we do hold that in our hearts this day. And yet, we gather here tonight to celebrate and to feel the joy and the love that this little child was sent from God to speak to us of hope and to inspire us to be light for our world. We too were sent from God to do great things for this world; we too are beloved children of God, and tonight we celebrate the long awaited one, Emmanuel, God among us. Love came down at Christmas.
And so on this sacred night of light and love, we are called to remember the great hope Jesus brought to our world. For God so loved the world, that into this beautiful, complicated and sometimes messy place, God sent a little child to teach us about love. That’s what Christmas is all about.