Flights of Faith

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Involvement: A Christmas Talk (Part One)

Last year, I gave a Christmas talk on faith for a Christian fellowship. I posted it here. This year, someone asked me to speak for the Afro-American Cultural Center's Christmas talk. I thought I'd repost a version of it here. Here's part one. Merry Christmas!

There has always been something a bit peculiar about Christmas. Even as a kid, it felt weird that we gathered around a baby. We knew his name: Jesus. But what else do we know at this point?

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Maybe it’s from Divinity school or just listening to several Christmas messages over time. Most Christmas sermons are about this simple fact: Christmas is not Christmas without Jesus. Usually, this is a message against consumerism, or a fuzzy non-specific holiday joy, or the busyness we find ourselves in and then we get hit with that scene – a long time ago. A manger with Joseph and Mary, the parents of Jesus. Three wisemen, shepherds, and angels. And baby Jesus in swaddling clothes. This image of Jesus then brings us back to the true reason for the season.

I agree with all of that. Jesus is the reason for the season. And in our society, that is always a helpful reminder. I just have a guess that maybe you’ve heard that too. So today, I want to suggest another fact.

Christmas is not Christmas without us.

Us, the humans gathered in this room. And even all of humanity from Jesus’ birth and before. Christmas is not Christmas without all of us.

On the surface, this might be a weird claim. No, Christmas is about Jesus. Baby Jesus is being called the Messiah, the Savior of the world. It’s obvious this baby is important.

And I guess that’s the question. Why is Jesus important?

There are so many things we might know about Jesus. Jesus is called the Messiah. Jesus is God’s son. Jesus is perfect.
But who has Jesus shown himself to be in our lives. Who do we trust him to be in our lives? I thought we could take a look at someone who didn’t know first – since that’s how the story starts.

26In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, 27to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin's name was Mary. 28The angel went to her and said, "Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." 29Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God. 31You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end."
34"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" 35The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called[a] the Son of God. 36Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month. 37For nothing is impossible with God." 38"I am the Lord's servant," Mary answered. "May it be to me as you have said." Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:26-38)

So, Mary knows nothing about Jesus. She didn’t know anything before this angel came and spoke to her. And what does she know afterwards? Well, Jesus is in her womb. I guess that is some personal information. He is the Son of the Most High. Ok, that sounds good too. Give him the throne of his father David? Ok, confusing for Mary. But she might have caught on that this meant this baby will have a Kingdom like the example of David. And this Kingdom will never end. Whoa. Intense stuff.

To be continued...


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