Sermon for Christmas, Year C
December 24-25, 2018
The Rev. Evelyn Wheeler, Rector

Isaiah 9:2-7; Psalm 96; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-20

Isaiah 62: 6-12; Psalm 97; Titus 3:4-7; Luke 2:1-20

While it’s not true the Christianity is the only religion – or even philosophy – built on the idea of grace, we must not lose sight of the fact that it is indeed built on grace.

The nature of grace is that it is never earned; cannot be earned, but only given by one to another.  Whether the One is God, or one of us, we are all enriched by the practice, exercise, and receipt of grace.

We heard about the shepherds – did they earn the right to hear about the Christ child?  No, but they not only heard it, they heard it with all the glory of God and the angels singing.  They met grace – and we do, too – in a baby born far from home, laid in a manger that ordinarily would be used to feed the animals.

They met grace – and we do, too – in a new mother and her betrothed husband, a new mother who was not just a new mom, but also a prophet.  Her prophecy was of a world order turned upside down, turned around, re-ordered by grace, and not by power.

They met grace – and we do, too – in the entrance of the magnificent and most holy God into our world.  Let loose in our world: sent forth in our world, into a world often marked by hardship, struggle, loss, and grief.

Perhaps that’s the point:  not that the world gets all fixed, but that the world needs grace – not just God’s, but ours as well. 

There’s something about Christmas that calls us into grace. 

There’s something about the vulnerability of a young girl and a new-born baby, something about the unexpectedness of God coming among us in this way, something about the shepherds being the first to be notified of this event, that unequivocally calls us into grace.

When we get busy, when there are too many demands and too little time, when things get chaotic, when voices get anxious or angry, when we forget that there are other people in the world besides ourselves, other problems besides our own, then grace can get drowned out – just when it is most needed.

So if you are feeling stressed, even now in this beautiful space, then now is just the time to stop.  Take a deep breath.  Let it out slowly, rinse, and repeat.

Grace is here.  Grace is wherever love is.  Grace is whenever we are forgiven or forgive another.  Grace is when we remember how much grace God has let loose in the world, in creation, in redemption, in love.

Let grace seep in, let it fill you, body and soul, let it feed your spirit, let it lighten your heart, let the grace of God renew you.

Now.

Amen.

 
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