Christmas 2014 – “Christ born(e) in us”
+ In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
“God wants to be born in us this night so that he may be borne with us this night.”
My thoughts this year center around this central thought. God being born(e) in us. And I have to be a little honest with you right now, I’m trying to be a little clever, or as my Grandmother would say “too big for his britches.”
You see, I’m being a little tricky with that word born because it’s a Homonym: words that sound the same but have different spellings and different meanings.
And so when I say that God wants to be “born(e) in us.” I mean it in two different ways.
First, God wants to be “b-o-r-n” born in us. He wants to be with us, in our hearts, in the very depths of our souls. He wants to take up residence within us, to share himself with us, to give his eternal life to us.
As we gather this night, we celebrate Christ being born into the world. God became a man, flesh and blood, just like you and me.
And he was born into the world for the same reason that he wants to be born in you and me: His love for you and for me.
You know, as I wrote that line on the paper, I thought to myself, “You say that so much, Tom. Maybe you need to think of something new to say about God.”
But I think the reason I stand here, and say it so much is because, my dear friends, brother and sisters in Christ, we need to hear it, and we need to know it. God has declared in sending his Son to you and to me that we are his beloved, worthy of being loved by him and one another.
And the sad truth is, the world can be harsh and cruel. They can say things that hurt us, make us feel pretty rotten. And we try to brush things off and to pretend like they don’t hurt us. But in reality, when we are honest with ourselves, they do hurt.
But the world’s negativity can only hurt us if we let it. And the way that we let it hurt us is by forgetting that God has declared in his Son our Belovedness.
A well known priest and monk of the 20th century wrote what I’m trying to say much better than I could ever. His name is Henri Nouwen and he wrote:
“… you have to keep unmasking the world about you for what it is: manipulative, controlling, power-hungry, and, in the long run, destructive. The world tells you many lies about who you are, and you simply have to be realistic enough to remind yourself of this. Every time you feel hurt, offended, or rejected, you have to dare to say to yourself: ‘These feelings, strong as they may be, are not telling me the truth about myself. The truth, even though I cannot feel it right now, is that I am the chosen child of God, precious in God’s eyes, called the Beloved from all eternity, and held safe in an everlasting belief.”
As we gather this night to remember and give thanks for the birth of our savior into the world, let us remember that he came down to tell us that he finds in us something powerful – something beautiful – something loveable. And what he finds in us is his own creative hand – the image in which we were made – his image.
And as we remember that God was born for us and wants to be born (B O R N) in us, we also give thanks that he also wants to be borne (b-o-r-n-e) in us.
IN the first instance this means that he wants to stay with us, and for us to stay with him always. In “church-y” terms it means mean that God wants to be in Communion with us. Not just when we kneel at the Altar rail – but when we go back to our pew and when out into the street and when the hubbub of the holidays are over and we head back out to work.
He wants to bring his life with us, first, so that we may feed off of his life, and know and experience his love, and his joy, and his peace in our lives. But also so that he can share his life with the world through us.
You and I are called to go into a world that doesn’t understand God’s love and to be his light in the world. That’s a daunting task, to say the least. There’s a lot work to be done – and there’s going to be a lot of resistance from the one who doesn’t want God’s love known in the world.
And so before we can bear God into the world; before God can be borne into the world through us, he must first be born in us.
We gather this night, in the hours of darkness, to give thanks for the light being born into the world. As we go forth from here, may we also have the Light of Christ born in our hearts and in our minds – giving us the knowledge that we are his beloved people – so that he may be borne with us our into the world- so cold and so dark – so desperately in need of his light – so desperate know his love.
+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.