Saturday, December 25, 2010

What child is this?

Below is the text of the message I shared at Good Shepherd this morning for our Christmas day service.  The Scripture text for the message is John 1:1-14.  Not the 'normal' Christmas text, but a good and important one, I think.  I hope in it you hear God speak to you from the manger this Christmas.  

What child is this? 
               The gospel passage from John this morning is not the typical or traditional Christmas story maybe. But it is the Christmas story.  It is the story of God – the Word – coming to be with us, live with us, die for us and save us. 
               I believe that maybe more than any other ‘Christmas’ story, the opening words of the Gospel of John can answer for us the question that is at the heart of this day: What child is this?
               This child, born in a manger to a poor teenage mother.  Born into a family that was too poor to afford even a room to stay in.  This child, this baby was and is the very Son of God.   This child is the living, breathing demonstration of God’s love for each and every one of us. 
What child is this? 
What child is this that came to be with us?
               The same child that was and is WITH God – We hear in the John passage that this child, this Jesus was ‘In the beginning’ before time itself with God.  Jesus Christ – the Word – is both God and with God.  This child, this baby is God. 
               God, here from the beginning chose to enter into history and be ‘with us’.  The Word, that spoke the universe and all of us into existence, chose to come and live among us.  Sharing his voice and his words with us. 
What child is this that was born in a manger?
               Jesus Christ - the one through which all that came into existence – everything that has been made – was made.  That baby born in a manger was there before time began, bringing the universe and all life into existence
               The creator of everything, was born into poverty and not luxury.  Not out of chance or coincidence, but to clearly demonstrate that the light and life – the Word of God was and is for everyone, everywhere.  No matter the circumstance, no matter their status.
What child is this that was born to die?
               Jesus Christ was born and came into the world to give his life for ours.  The child, the man, the person of Jesus is and was life itself and he came to share that life with us.  Jesus is the originator of life and the sustainer of life.  It is because of Jesus and the Holy Spirit of God given to us through Jesus that we have life at all.  It is because of and through this child that we are able to have life to the full.
What child is this that shines light in the darkness?
               Jesus was born into a world of darkness – oppression, poverty, war, injustice surrounded and confronted him from the moment of his birth.  While much has changed,  the world of darkness remains all around us.
               We live in the darkness much of the time.  Sometimes we are or feel imprisoned by the darkness around us – holding us back, keeping us down and blinding us. 
               Sometimes we choose to live in the dark, so that we can hide and cover up our sins, our shame and our imperfections. 
               The child Jesus came as a light to shine in that darkness.  Jesus Christ is not just a light, a flicker or a struggling flame, but an overwhelming, overcoming light.  A light that can’t be extinguished.   The light of this child overcomes the darkness that pulls us down, trips us up and threatens to overtake us. 
               The light of Christ lays bare all of those things that we would like to keep in the darkness – not to shame or condemn us, but so that we might be fully cleansed, redeemed and freed from those things that keep us from real, full life. 
               Real, full and fulfilled life that can only be lived in the overcoming light of Jesus Christ, the child born in a manger.
What child is this?
               This child is the light of life. 
               The prince of peace
               The bringer of hope
               The embodiment of love
               The source of joy.
What child is this?
               The savior of the universe, Christ the Lord.

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