Christmas Day, December 25, 2017
2 Samuel 7:1-11, 16; Psalm 89:1-4, 19-26; Romans 16:25-27; Luke 1:26-38
There is no recording for this sermond
When we tell and retell the most important stories of our life, we often find that every time we tell it, there are a few details that we can’t leave out of the story.
The story of the nativity, the birth of Christ, is no different.
We know this story: Mary, Joseph, Bethlehem, the three wise men. We know about how there was no room at the inn. And we know about a manger.
A manger isn’t much. There’s no down comforters with 800 thread satin sheets. It wasn’t a crib or a bed.
It was a trough containing hay for the animals that ate in it. It was perhaps the most unexpected resting place for a newly born Messiah.
But as much as we remember that manger, we also remember why Jesus was there. We remember that when Mary and Joseph got to the inn, they were told there was no room for them there.
Have you ever wondered whether that was true? Have you ever wondered if maybe there was room at the inn? Maybe the innkeeper had a couple rooms left, but he saw this unmarried couple with this woman who was obviously pregnant, and decided maybe he didn’t want to rent them a room? Or maybe, even if there weren’t any rooms left, they could have found some place for a woman who was nine months pregnant and about to give birth?
But they didn’t; and, so, Jesus was born in a trough.
If this was just a story about an innkeeper who missed a chance to open the doors to Christ over 2,000 years ago, I wouldn’t be telling it this morning. But this isn’t about what an innkeeper did 2,000 years ago.
It’s about what God did, and what God still does. And it’s about what we do next.
Christ still comes into this world. Christmas still happens. It didn’t just happen once, it happens all the time.
Sometimes God knocks at our doors, and we are asked if there is room in the inn. And sometimes we look out, and we don’t really like what we see, or we don’t like what it would mean to let Christ in, and we close the door and say: “There’s no place for you here”.
But sometimes, even when we don’t really want to, even when we’re not sure we want to open that door up, we do anyway. And that matters. Because Christmas may be about the story that we read. It may be about Mary and Joseph, and the baby and the manger, and no room at the inn. But that story teaches us about more than just an event that happened centuries ago. It teaches us about opening ourselves up to what God is trying to do in us in this world. And it’s about telling God that, even if we don’t know what it means yet, there is room for God in our lives, and we want to be part of what God is doing.
The question is, do you want to be the inn that closed its doors. Or do you want to be something else.
Scripture tells us that out in the fields, the shepherds heard the baby had been born. And they got up and they came to the manger and saw the new thing that God had just done in the world.
That’s who I want to be on Christmas Day and every day. I want to be the one who doesn’t close the doors to my heart when God is about to do something new, but the one who hears about it, and comes running. When God works in this world – I want to be a part of the story.
I can be. And so, can you. It’s sometimes easy to forget that that baby born that night grew up to become an adult. And when he did, and he was asked what we God asked us to do, he answered this: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and love your neighbor as yourself. In other words, open the door, open your heart, and let it all in. If Christmas is about the incarnation of God, and this is what God incarnate saw fit to tell us, then this is the ultimate Christmas message.
When the tree is put away, when Christmas dinner has been eaten, when the nativity sets go back into their boxes, what next? The ultimate test of how well we have celebrated Christmas this year will not be in what was under the tree or anything like that. It will be in how well we opened our hearts, and let that Christmas message in. Amen.
The sermons are recorded at St. Andrew’s and uploaded by Kemp Miller, for whose ministry we are all grateful. This sermon preached at Emmanuel, however, was not recorded. To access the library of audio files for recent sermons, CLICK HERE.