? Under the Tree

How would you feel about a different kind of Christmas message this year? One that offered no comfortable assurances of peace on Earth, but instead raised only questions? Would you get frustrated? Would it even make a difference?

Do you even recall any Christmas sermon you’ve heard? What was the message? Was a gimmick used that made it memorable? How many times have I given a Christmas message and wondered if it was going to bomb? Or does even worrying about that sabotage inspiration and ensure that it’s a stinker?

Can anything original even be said at Christmas? After all the centuries, after billions of sermons, what can I add that would even catch your attention, let alone inspire your faith? I’ve thought about that every Christmas, and often wondered, what would you say if you were giving a Christmas sermon?

Would you focus on how there was no room at the inn, and base your message on justice and homelessness? Would you tell the story of Mary and Joseph’s desperate escape to save their lives, and compare that with the plight of asylum seekers huddled on the Mexican-US border? Or is that too moralistic, too political?

Do you, then, preach on Mary? What was it like for a young girl to be mysteriously pregnant? What did her parents think? Was it a relief to leave town? And why don’t we hear sermons on Joseph? Was he an absentee father? Whatever happened to that guy?

What of the Prince of Peace? Could you preach on that? Can you even write that when your own Christmases are so busy and so stressed? Are you glad it’s not you trying to come up with something right now? What would you say if you were giving a Christmas sermon?

Would you look to the wise men? Were there three of them? Were they actually kings? And why did they look at the stars? Do you ever do that, if not looking to the heavens, then checking the horoscopes for spiritual guidance? Does God even speak these days? What would God say?

Wouldn’t it be cool if God did speak up? If angels appeared, like to the shepherds? Or would it freak you out? Would others think you’re crazy? Why is it that, when you speak to God, it’s called prayer, but when God speaks to you it’s called schizophrenia?

And what’s up with frankincense and myrrh? Did you know these were resins used to make fragrant oils that covered the stench of bodies at the burial? Who gives that to a kid? And what were Mary and Joseph’s reaction? The gold, I get, but this? What would you bring? What do you bring? How does one acknowledge the Christ child?

What’s with this ‘Word made flesh’ thing? Then there’s ‘and to all who received him who believed in his name he gave the power to be children of God’ – what does that mean? “Be born in us today” – huh? ‘Born to raise the sons of earth, born to give them second birth’ – What does it all mean? Has the Divine been born in you? Do you understand the question? How would you preach that today?

Wouldn’t you rather just cut the sermon, put the offering in the plate and get the service over with because it’s almost midnight? Isn’t the peace of a few hours sleep more practical and precious than the peace that passes understanding?

Isn’t our love the best gift to lay before the Christ child? – David Maginley

Can the questions ever be answered, or do they lead us to ask better questions? Isn’t the whole point of this not to have the answers, but to realize the Answer has us? Isn’t our love the best gift to lay before the Christ child? Didn’t he say, “What ever you do to the lease of these, you do to me?” Since God is not the object of love, but Love itself, then is not the gift and the giving one and the same? Could you, then, be the gift of Christmas? How about a different kind of Christmas message this year?

Question: How can you be the gift of Christmas?

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3 replies
  1. Maxine Silva
    Maxine Silva says:

    My message for the Christmas Sermon:
    So many questions we all have about the meaning of life and why we exist on this planet…we’re always looking for answers as to how to conduct our lives, by soliciting responses from outside ourselves. By not taking personal responsibility for our individual “choices”, we relinquish our own power, to find the answers.
    By doing so, we use external distractions to avoid the path of self realization…a Gift from God! Each one of us has the ability to look within, to relax into our centre’s core…the Seat of Self Awareness…the Essence of Peace and Love…GOD! How blessed are we to know God by knowing ourselves…Creator and Creation.
    The message of the Christ Child and much spiritual teachings is a metaphor for humanity, delivering deep understanding which can be sought and obtained, by turning our focus within.
    The overriding tidings: “We are all connected, part of the whole God. What affects one affects all”
    The birth of Christ represents a chance for a new beginning…a do over, when we fall short of the mark. Never forsaken in the eyes of God (LOVE) we are blessed with a lifetime of experiences, to live in our highest good.
    Christmas when people are receptive and strive to feel the sentiments of the season, is a perfect time to share and celebrate our interconnectedness with the Divine (GOD).
    Cutting across all cultures, religions and nations, LOVE (God’s Essence) is a Healing force for ALL!

  2. Paula Bohr
    Paula Bohr says:

    I would tell about Christmas has been a lonely time for me, because I felt very alone, even though I was in a family. I would reach out to everybody who feels alone at Christmas and tell them: I know how you feel. I know how hard it is to feel alone especially at Christmas. Therefore I have dedicated this Christmas to everyone who feel like an outcast and/or alone. I want you to know I acknowledge your pain and I acknowledge the shame I felt and you may feel. I have one wish for us outsiders, lonely ones: That we may feel Christmas is also for us – it’s also for you. The pain can be so big, that it’s not easy to overcome the pain and open for the joy Christmas can hold. Because Christmas is about joining with the loved ones, and if we don’t have anyone we feel loved by – joy can be hard to find. And if we don’t feel loved how can we celebrate the Christmas message? I don’t have any answers but maybe God has if you are willing to reach out to God. My wish for Christmas is that we will be consoled by God. That we may experience God sees exactly our pain our loss and that God in time will help us back to a meaningful togetherness with other people. Because truly I believe that is what I believe we were made for.


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