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A sermon for Christmas

Here is my offering for Christmas 2010….. as often happens, I take my lead from  the simplicity of children…

Sermon for Christmas 2010

The Little Blue Star.

“The Eskimo has fifty-two names for snow because it is important to them; there ought to be as many for love” ( Quote by Margaret Atwood)

I wonder what names you have been giving to the snow this year. Some think its pretty, I’m sure people living in parts of the country badly effected by it will have given it names not repeatable in church. I expect words which have little to do with love have been given to it by those stranded at airports for hours on end this last week. Like the snow, we will all have different views about Christmas too – depending on who we are and what deal life is handing out to us at the moment.

A year or so ago I remember reading an article about how some Vicars felt about Christmas – and the run up to it. It was headed “ Frosty Priests make moan”.

It described how some clergy  get so worn out by an excess of carols, nativity plays, visiting and mince pies that they just cant wait for it to be all over. Bah Humbug was the name one clergyman in Brighton gave to the festival.

I haven’t done a lot of shopping for Christmas, but when I did venture into St Neots earlier this week I too heard some folk saying words to the effect

“ I’ll be glad when all this has finished – it gets me down “

Its true that there are a few things that get me grumpy  at this time of year – the question “ what are you doing for Christmas” is one of them and another is when people say “ Oh, it must be your busy time”  Busy time? Er, well yes, but I’m pretty busy most of the time actually” Its like when people say jokingly “ You only work on Sundays”

But how sad that anyone should ever feel that they wish Christmas was over – and how sad that we can ever think its “ over – done and dusted – as if its something we get out of a box  under sufferance, and then put back after 12 days of frenetic activity – and shut the lid tight.

Let me tell you if I may why I like Christmas so much and why rather than putting it away in boxes bound for the loft for the next 11 months I believe Christmas is to be celebrated every day of our lives

To do that, I will tell you about the play which the children of Little Paxton School Key Stage 1 performed this year in their school Hall. It started off with a glorious troupe of children filing onto the stage dressed variously as stars, clouds, kings, shepherds, lambs, angels  – the usual and expected characters in a school nativity play.

The troupe of white stars were very smart and self confident and took centre stage as it were looking very pleased with themselves.

But then a blue star appears. She looks very different from the white ones – infact she isn’t liked at all. The white stars make fun of her, scorn and wag their fingers at her in a rather too realistic way for my comfort. They sing a hostile song with a catchy tune which tells her to go away. She is being rejected for being different.

So, sadly, she sets off on a journey to find love and acceptance. Who wouldn’t? She meets a very big and bright star – you can imagine which star that is. The bright star befriends the Little Blue Star and together we realize they have an important mission – no prizes for guessing what this is, either!

Eventually, Jesus is born and side by side with that momentous event the Little white stars have a change of heart and  come to accept the Little Blue Star for what she is. I like to think their transformation isn’t just about realizing that she has been promoted to assistant to the Bethlehem Star.

At the end we hear it proclaimed that Jesus was born for all of us – who ever we are – not just for the regular  haps who look and live like we do. He was born for all of us – for all people of all time.

We know that right now across this tiny planet in a huge universe there are many people who are hungry, cold, thirsty, lonely, poorly or caught up in war. We know there are many for whom Christmas joy and good will is a joke, without any relevance in their lives. We know that the earth itself has been damaged by human greed and that weapons of destruction could at any moment cause untold damage. We know that even people of different faiths are fighting for their version of the truth. We know that each of us if the truth be told have our own fears and doubts and suffer from low self-esteem. We worry about the future for ourselves and our children or grandchildren.

Fear in its many varied forms is an only too real feature of too many peoples lives.

But just think for a moment. Those shepherds out in the fields minding their sheep – angels, Gods messengers come to them – the first words they hear ar Peace – do not be afraid.

It was the same with the young girl Mary – the first words the angel spoke to her were Peace – do not be afraid. If you have been watching the BBC drama of The Nativity – you will know how it brings home to us how frightened she must have been after hearing the news of the angel  – for at first those who loved her just didn’t believe her story and thought the worst of her.

Peace – do not be afraid!

I believe in Christmas because under all the seasonal wrapping and trappings of a commercialized Christmas there is an enduring message of great hope and peace and joy.

The message is simple: that God loved his world so much that he came into the world as a tiny infant to show each of us how much we are loved – whether a blue star or a white star so to speak – and how he desires each of us to love one another and the fragile earth we have been given to care for.

He came to show us that even if we make mistakes – and lets face it, humanity has and is making some pretty awful ones – we can be forgiven, we can start again and we cane be saved, made whole, rescued from our own mess.

The Eskimo has fifty-two names for snow because it is important to them;  there ought to be as many words for love.

The love that God has for us his beloved children is endless and beyond words. May each of us this night and in the coming days ask God to refresh us with that love, heal and calm us with his peace and warm us with a glowing sense of being accepted, forgiven and loved – just as we are.

What ever colour star we may be – we are all Gods children – and are called to shine as a light in a world that can feel at turns dark and lonely but also awesome and majestic.

May the light of the Christ  child  be with you all these Christmas days – and on into eternity. Amen

Prayer

God of love, Father of all,
the darkness that covered the earth
has given way to the bright dawn of your Son Jesus,

The Light of the world.
Make us a people of this light, forgiven and made whole
That we may bring hope and peace into troubled hearts

And healing to a divided world
Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

December 24, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

1 Comment »

  1. Thank you, just read it Christmas morning whislt grandchildren are watching TV, waiting patiently for breakfast and then presents. The rest of the adults are showering etc and I have a little peace to think about the real Christmas. Howevever, I am sure I will enjoy the joy of the children opening their presents and may I will enjoy receiving something that is a surprise.

    Happy Christmas.

    Peter

    Comment by Peter H | December 25, 2010 | Reply


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