Fr. Bill Carroll – Christmas Day, December 25, 2022
And the Word became flesh and lived among us. And we have seen his glory.
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
I always resist the temptation to use this lesson on Christmas Eve. That’s because we need to hear from Luke. John’s Prologue is beautiful, but too abstract. At Christmas, we need to join the shepherds, keeping watch in the field by night. We need to hear the angels singing God’s new song. We need to rush to the cradle, to see what God has done. We need the poverty of the stable. We need swaddling clothes and animal noises. We need straw in that manger. We need the Holy Family, taking care of the Child.
And yet, there is a majesty in what John is talking about. For, in these days, the Word (who lives forever in the heart of his Father)—the very same Word, who is God and is with God—in these days, here and now, this Word has become flesh.
Without for a minute ceasing to be what he is, the Son of God becomes one of us. God is willing to live a human life. And this includes the suffering of that life. In the end, Jesus will suffer death on the Cross for our salvation. Ultimately, Christmas is about God’s desire to be with us. It is about God’s desire, out of love, to be our Savior—to join us here in the mess of our lives. God loves us as we are. God shares our flesh. God sends his own Son into a world with no room for him. God sends us Jesus, to make all things new.
And so we read that Jesus, “the true light…was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become the children of God.”
In a famous Christmas sermon, Martin Luther spoke about what we might say to ourselves today, “Oh, I wish I was there,” he says. “I would help the baby. I would change his diaper.” And then Luther goes on to tell his congregation, “We have Christ. We have Christ already—right here, in front of our noses. We have Christ in our neighbors.”
“The Word became flesh, and lived among us.” And, because of this glorious fact, we can find God in small and humble things. We can find God in everything. We are invited by the Gospel to find God in our neighbors. We are invited to find God that way, whether it’s in the people in need in our community or those who share our homes and pews. We are called to find God in one another—and then to love each other (to really love each other).
Christmas is all about the power of love to overcome what divides us. Everything that divides us from God and each other is overcome in the birth of this child. That is the hope this day brings us. Today, we receive eternal life. And today, Jesus Christ gives us the power to live as God’s children, to live and to die for other people. For we have seen his glory. And he has called us to share his love with the whole world.
“How beautiful (says the Lord) are the feet of those who bring good news.” That’s not just a job for the preacher. It is a job for all of us. It’s a job for the whole Body of Christ—for each of us who have been filled with his Spirit in Baptism and united with Jesus as members of his Body, the Church. We are his hands. We are his voice. We are his presence in a hurting world.
For, today, “the Lord has bared his holy arm before the eyes of all the nations.” Today, “all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.” This is God’s promise to us—and to the whole world. And so, whoever you are and however you are hurting, I invite you to share the hope and the strength that this day brings us.
For unto us is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.