December 25, 2016
Merry Christmas and Welcome to Worship
Since we combined our Christmas Worship Gathering with our Christmas Eve Candlelight Service, we wanted to give you another way to worship and celebrate at home this morning on this wonderful Christmas Day. Today we will worship together as one body in many places. Since you are probably gathered with family and friends you might not get to see every day, why not invite them to join you. It will be a great way to introduce them to The Bridge Community.
Our time together with be brief as the Spirit of Christmas has probably already filled your heart. Our aim will be simple, to revel in the glory of our newborn King. So let’s start with a prayer.
In your mercy, you came to us. By your kindness, you reached out to us. With love, revealed yourself, not as powerful taskmaster demanding our allegiance, but as tender and vulnerable child, wrapped tightly and held close in the arms of his mother. Your appearance is not at all what we expected but it is exactly what we needed. On this one day out of a year full of days, would you please fill our hearts again with the wonder of the new born King. May we know just how loved we are and may it never fade in our memories, but always and forever, shine as bright as the morning sun. Amen.
Let’s worship together:
O Come All Ye Faithful
There will be no long sermon today, just a short reflection on John 1:14. Let’s call it:
“Why All This Fuss About Christmas?”
As any woman who has born a child will tell you, there is something extraordinarily miraculous about carrying a life inside of you; flesh of your very flesh, yet something so distinctly not you.
The miracle of new life is something that in and of itself is worthy of a great celebration. As I sit at my kitchen table and reflect upon Christmas, I can’t help but think about all the meaning Christmas gives to the phrase “new life”.
But as we draw close once again to Christmastide there might be those who wonder, “Why all this fuss about Christmas?” If we are honest, we might even admit that we have asked ourselves this question. In pondering this question I have found John 1:14 to be a well of refreshment and a source of joy for my soul.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (ESV). John 1:14
I spoke above about new life, and specifically the new life a mother gives to a child. To speak of the coming of the Christ Child is to hold in tension two very important ideas.
First that this child is truly Immanuel, God with us, and the second is that this child is truly human as well.
The very early church fathers purposefully and diligently crafted the language of our cherished statements about the Christ in such a way as to communicate to subsequent generations the importance of remembering that within Jesus there are two natures, both human and divine, uniquely and amazing formed into the one person of Jesus.
It is right to have an exalted view of Jesus as the Son of God but we need to remember as well that He was also the Son of Man. The Word, through whom all things were made, voluntarily emptied (poured) itself into a man.
We should not see this as the Word becoming less, for in actuality the Word lost nothing but rather the man gained a new fullness, the fullness of Deity. The Word became flesh and for the first time since the fall, true humanity was fulfilled.
I would wager that most of us know how to worship Jesus as God the Son, but do we know how to be empowered and blessed by the Jesus who is human?
Through the voluntary obedience of a woman (Mary) a son was born and as such humanity is redeemed, both female and male.
For the very fullness of God saw fit to dwell in a human body validating the intended goodness of humanity and the human form. For God’s willingness to take on flesh was an affirmation of what He created us to be and at the same time a fulfillment of what we were created to be.
In talking about this, I do not mean to diminish in any way the divinity of God the Son, but I do wish to bring forth that which is often overlooked in the Christ Child. That which we often overlook is that what God intended to do through Jesus (to communicate Himself to us and to redeem us) He chose to do by taking on flesh.
And in so doing Jesus was able to demonstrate, in His flesh, obedience to the Father, to show that we, in our flesh, might also be obedient not only because He shares a common flesh with us but also because His strength lives within us.
Why all this fuss about Christmas? Because God came to us and not only did He come to us, but he took on flesh and came in the form of a servant.
Because in the very act of taking on flesh He began to redeem us and to make us whole again.
Christmas is about hope; the hope of new life. New life that is possible not someday, somewhere off in the distance, but here and now in the present.
Our hope is in the God who came to us and took on our same flesh. In that knowledge we move forward in the hope of a new life united with Christ; a hope that we might live as Christ.
Why all the fuss about Christmas? Because it is the beginning of the very best news we could ever receive.
Let’s listen to another worship Song
We won’t be long together today friends. My guess is that you have family and friends to celebrate with, parties to attend, and naps to take. I’ll leave you with this short prayer.
Light of life, you came in flesh,
born into human pain and joy,
and gave us power to be your children.
Grant us faith, O Christ, to see your presence among us,
so that all of creation may sing new songs of gladness
and walk in the way of peace. Amen.