Sermon for Christmas Day
December 25, 2017
For some people Christmas is about gift giving, that is, it is all about gift giving. Even for us, to whom Christmas is much more, the gift giving part still occupies a good portion of our attention and our time. We have the same dilemma each year: What do I get him? What do I get her? Our reading from John helps us with our gift giving a little. He shows us what to give somebody that has everything and he shows us what do give everybody that has nothing.
What do you give somebody that has everything? First, we have to realize that it is only God that has everything. All things are His. In eternity past was God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit; content in all things with a relationship in the godhead that was perfection and beauty. Yet, the Father gives more to the Son. He gives Him humility. The divine and eternal Son becomes a part of the creation which was created through Him. He is humbled by being conceived in the womb of a woman to experience a genesis of His own and to be born.
To Him who has everything, you give flesh and a genealogy. You give Him fingers and toes and a genetic makeup consistent with that of His mother. You give Him hunger and thirst, a yearning to be held and protected by His mother. You give Him nerves that feel pain and pleasure, emotions that know joy and sorrow, bodily functions that ingest, digest, and excrete. You give Him a mortality that no divine should every have to know.
What do you give somebody that has everything? You give Him the cold shoulder, a pretense of non-recognition. You give Him a world of darkness that is foreign to His very being; a world of hostility that ignores His greatness. You give Him a bland welcome among a ho hum crowd mixed with outright denial and rejection.
To Him who has everything, there is temptation and affliction that you could give. You could wrap up stones as if they were bread. You could present a glory with the expense of denying self, or a question of whether God is truly real in the midst of suffering. You could present a waterfall gift of temptation after temptation.
To that One that has everything, you give pain and suffering. You give Him scorn and abuse. You offer Him flogging with mockery, thorns and blows with contempt. To Him you give nails and cross, spear and sour wine. To Him there is still one thing that He could receive – abandonment and death.
These are the things that are given to the One that has everything. These are the things given to Jesus, who having everything was emptied into complete poverty for us.
What do you give to everybody that has nothing? To them you give a creation of beauty and wonder; a creation with variety beyond imagination and complexity beyond understanding. To those that have nothing, you give seasons and days that regulate planting and harvest, seed and fruit, migration and hibernation. To those that have nothing, you give mountains and valley, depths and heights, thought and technology. To those without, you give all that is necessary to support and sustain life in body, mind, and soul.
To that everybody that has nothing you give light that makes the day visible and light that illumines one’s path at night. Light that shines in darkness and chases away the shadows. You give them light that is not overcome by darkness; light that brightens mind and heart behind the eye even as it shines before the eye in glory and majesty.
To everybody that has nothing, you give life that is abundant beyond knowing; life that is not intimidated by death; life that is not cowered by grave or subject to limits. The them is given the life of man that is lived not just before God but in the presence of God and the intimacies of God beyond time and apart from mediation.
To the everybody of this world that has nothing, is given a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, the anointed of God, Immanuel. For them at Christmas, no browsing or contemplation is necessary only the realization of sin’s burden and the devil’s captivity and the solution is the perfect gift of a Savior. But not just any kind of savior, only the One that was there in the beginning, the One that was with God and the One that was God.
To everybody that has nothing, there is new life to be given; life that is not determined by man nor brought about by human action but a life that is determined and gifted only by God. To them is given a new birth without gestation and struggle and stress. These are born anew from the water and blood flowing from the spear pierced side of the One that has everything.
These are the things that are given to everybody that has nothing. These are the things that are given to you who had nothing but now has everything in Jesus Christ the Lord.
He set aside His riches and assumed our poverty so that we in poverty might be made rich in Him. Christmas is really about gift giving. We might even say it is all about gift giving.