Dearly Beloved, we are gathered tonight to share in the greatest of wonders: the birth of Christ on earth. We look not on his awesome majesty, his mighty Divinity, and his impenetrable Holiness: We look on his humanity, his innocence. For he came to us in innocence – as a baby born as babies are, to a mother. But what a mother: a young woman who had given her self, her own body, to be the home of God.
For the Holy One took on flesh and dwelt among us, not flaunting equality with God or shielding himself from the troubles of the world.
He came among us, as a Baby.
And he calls us to come to him, not as a Judge, called to account for our deeds and omissions, but to come to him as Savior, Messiah — come both to comfort and to challenge us, calling us to come home to him.
And when we come home, when we come to his Table, we are to come as ones made free — free from sin or the burden of conscience, guilt, and self-assigned un-forgive-able-ness — as we confess our faults and receive his grace.
As you approach this his Table, for the first time or the thousandth time,
Hear again the invitation:
Lay aside the burden of sin or guilt or fear—
For he did not come into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him; and he said, Come to me all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Lay aside that burden, leave it at the foot of the altar, and
Take on new birth, new life, in Christ.
May the Christ Child born in Bethlehem be born anew in your heart.
Take Jesus in— take him in and let him dwell within you; changing you, filling you with hope. That his grace and his gift of life be yours: that is my Christmas prayer. AMEN.