We are fast approaching one of the most special times of the year — the celebration and remembrance of the God breaking into our world in a way that only God could imagine. In the next weeks we will be celebrating with the shepherds, the angels, the Magi (often referred to as Kings), and of course Mary and Joseph. It will be time of remembrance and celebration, but most importantly it will be opening our hearts up to God’s presence in our lives and in our world.
It all starts so quietly with angel Gabriel sent by God to announce to Mary that she will conceive a child by the Holy Spirit and will give birth to a son and name him, Jesus. And “he will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David.” From there we move to the Angels in the field serenading the shepherds and the shepherds running to see this great event that been told to them by the most high God. And when they reach the stable they see a new born child wrapped in swaddling clothes laid in a cattle-feeding trough for there was not room in the Inn.
Of course this most beautiful story is only the beginning of the life of one that will change the history of the world. The one, that like his parents we will watch grow, and speak of God’s love for us, heal the sick, seek justice for the downtrodden, and ultimately lay down his life for everyone. Promising with that act new life for all who choose to follow, and hope in the midst of hopelessness.
Today we are called to step out of the shadow of fear and into a new life, a life where we live as the body of Christ on earth. As Paul writes so eloquently in 1st Corinthians 12:4-14:
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body — Jews or Greeks, slaves or free — and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many.
As we join in celebrating the Christmas story again let us also see that this story calls us to a new way of life that together as the Hartford Street Presbyterian Church we boldly step into the world as the living body of Jesus Christ reaching out to all a bringing that love that was so completely demonstrated on the cross.
God Bless and see you on Sunday,