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12.24.11 The Transforming Incarnate Word of God, Luke 2:8-20, Sermon Summary

by on December 28, 2011

The Shepherds weren’t like the image we have from our Christmas cards. They weren’t clean, well-dressed, gentle men like Mr. Rogers. They were ordinary guys. And yet God’s Word came to them.

Just as God’s Word came to ordinary shepherds, God’s Word comes to us in our ordinary lives. When we’re ironing our shirt, straightening out the rug, filling up the car, rinsing out the lettuce, trying to find the remote, walking the dog—that’s when God’s Word comes to us. Today, we don’t get angels flash appearing in light backed up with a host of additional singing angels. Or do we?

I believe we could receive God’s Word as the Shepherds did, with or without the angels, if we would just be more open. If we would open our hearts to God’s gracious and patient presence. If we would open our minds to more than what we think we can know. If we would open our eyes to the miraculous, then our ears would be open also, and we would hear God’s Word to us.

The Shepherds heard, and then they acted. They didn’t delay. They recognized that God’s Word almost always invites participation. God calls and we respond. Sometimes God tells us to slow down, rest, wait, trust, or stop. Other times God says keep moving, you can do this, start helping, or be more generous. God wants to way something to each of us, God wants to show each of us something. This Christmas may we be open like the Shepherds and respond when God speaks.

The Shepherds heard God’s Word, they responded with action, they saw God’s gift, and they worshipped. Then they left and shared. For us, Christmas has become about giving gifts. Perhaps we can find the origins of gift-giving at Christmas to the visit of the Magi with their gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

But if we were to take our cues from Luke’s account of the birth of Christ, we would find that Christmas isn’t about giving and receiving gifts. It’s about God’s Word coming to ordinary folks like Shepherds—and us. And then it’s about responding in faith, worshiping God in Christ, and then sharing about it.

May the Mighty and Most High God, bless again, by the power of his Holy Spirit, the message proclaimed anew this night. May God give us the gift of faith, that we might receive his Word, believe, see, and worship. Then, with this same faith and Spirit, may we bear the Good News of peace and reconciliation to all creation.

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From → Sermon Summaries

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