Christmas Eve and Christmas Day!

Luke 2:1-20

The Humiliation of God

The texts for this year’s Advent and Christmas have show the movement of God.  The movement of God in the work of redemption is a downward movement.  Paul uses, what many think is a hymn from the early church to describe this movement.  In Philippians 2 we see the gift of the Redeemer:

Christ Jesus,
who, though he existed in the form of God,
    did not regard equality with God
    as something to be grasped,
but emptied himself,
    taking the form of a slave,
    assuming human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a human,
    he humbled himself
    and became obedient to the point of death—
    even death on a cross.

This was done to thoroughly un-impress the mighty, the powerful, the top of society, they mocked him as a “son of a carpenter” and someone from Nazareth (Hicksville).  But the low in society, the cast off, the forgotten masses of the unwashed is where the Good News is proclaimed. 

Pride is often our biggest block is speaking the good news of Jesus.  We don’t want those we are trying to impress to associate us with “those people.”  In the Advent of the Savior of the world, God eradicates all forms of human pretentiousness and self-importance.  Even the “kings from the east” must come into a humble house and bow down before a peasant girl and her baby. 

The angels were not wrong, this is the way to glory, this is the demonstration of the glory of God in the Highest and the way of peace for all peoples. 

Paul continues:

Therefore God exalted him even more highly
    and gave him the name
    that is above every other name,
10 so that at the name given to Jesus
    every knee should bend,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue should confess
    that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

The call for us at Christmas is to humble ourselves so that we can be with the rough and smelly shepherds bowing in the dung of a cattle stall.  Then we will see the glory of God coming in the perfect gift of love.

Church on the Square

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Thank you Tony Roberson for this awesome video.

Fourth Sunday in Advent

Matthew 1:18-25
The Moral Dilemma of Listening to God
Now, the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way…”
(Matt 1:18)

Matthew introduces the events of Jesus’ life in a very simple way.  Yet, soon the account moves from simple to a moral dilemma.  Joseph, a righteousness man, an honorable man found himself having to choose between his honor and his fiancée.  She was pregnant (Matthew adds “by the Holy Spirit.)  Joseph knew that he had not committed fornication, so he had a dilemma, a decision.  He could break off the engagement with Mary or go ahead with the marriage and be subject to the gossip and suspicion of his community.

To be moral in the eyes of his community Joseph would have sent away Mary.  She would be labeled as immoral, but he would be proclaimed moral.  Or he could believe her, accept her, love her, protect her and her child.  This would brand both of them as immoral, unrighteous, and dishonorable.

Joseph did not listen to the gossipy whispers of his neighbors, but he did listen to the voice of God by the angel and then bore the shame.  Matthew tells the story of Joseph as a strong, silent type man.  Joseph made bold decisions, brave decisions to protect his family.  Joseph is a great example of Christian manhood and fatherhood.

As we follow God in our lives, we will be called immoral by those that call themselves righteous.  We will be the object of much gossip by our neighbors.  For example. I have been ridiculed by our church’s welcome and acceptance of the LGBTQ community in the last few weeks.  They called the welcoming of all of God’s children “immoral.”  Joseph accepted Mary’s humanity and loved her no matter what.

The book of Hebrews 13 talks about Jesus bearing the shame outside the gate, outside of the accepted community.  Then we are given a choice to bear the shame of Christ and identify with him outside the gate.  We need to realize that identifying with God often involves bearing shame, ridicule, dishonor, and even being labeled as sinners.  So, during this celebration of the birth of the Christ child, let us not also forget the bravery we need to love the Christ child that is the Son of God.

Pastor Greg


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