Christmas Eve 2008; 7:00pm
Lessons and Carols—Sermon
First Lutheran Church of the Trinity, Chicago
Thomas R Gaulke
Tonight we encounter the creator of the Universe.
Tonight we encounter a helpless, crying, soiled baby boy.
Lying in a feeding trough, on a bed of scratchy hay,
Upon the saliva of mules
(and) Among the smells of birth and a Palestinian Barn,
Our savior is born.
Not in a castle.
Not in a cloud descending from Heaven.
Not with beams of light radiating from his or his mother’s head.
In the dark,
In the night,
Beneath the sound of a mother’s heavy breathing,
In the unplanned messiness of life.
Our Savior is born.
Greeted by traveling visitors:
But No celebrities,
His birth announced by Angels;
But there are no paparazzi,
He is hailed as a King and as a Lord:
But among his guests are
And no Kings (as some hymns might suggest).
No one of power or prestige.
No family but his poor,
Stranded in Bethlehem a 4 days journey from home.
Among the confused and displaced,
The unlikely and the un-liked,
Our Savior is Born.
The guests are poor,
They smell of hard work—and sheep,
They tell the child’s mother
That they have seen an angel,
The other guests are Magi
Astrologers form Iraq and Iran;
They travel to pay homage to the one the stars tell them
Will be a great king--
A king who will bring justice and peace
to an oppressed and warring earth.
They were odd clothes
They eat too-spicy food.
They speak with thick accents,
And wear strong perfumes…
Among the aliens and the outcasts,
Among sojourners and immigrants,
Among those harassed by unjust rulers,
(like Herod and Augustus),
A Savior is born!
(And) as this collection of individuals
Gathers clumsily together,
Beneath the soiled and splintered boards of a barn,
hoping in the promises received
From Angels’ voices and shooting stars,
In the dark of the “O Holy Night”—
As this collection of individuals gathers
In the darkness of broken lives
And a hurting world:
In anticipation of the birth
Of a light that would outshine the sun,
And the overwhelming and undying hope for the arrival of a God who is called the prince of Peace
and the Lord of Life…
In strange lands,
Among the unexpected and the unacknowledged,
In the depths of the deepest and darkest; soiled and splintered nights:
A Savior is born.
Tonight we gather to celebrate a birth.
Our lives are a kaleidoscope.
Our histories are varied.
Our afflictions and our hopes are too many to count.
We are locals.
We are visitors.
We are young and we are old. (And many in between).
and even our religious beliefs are not the same.
Yet tonight we come together
Following Angels’ Voices and Shooting Stars
Hoping against hope,
In a promise of Good News of great Joy.
Amidst the mess of reality,
In the depths of out lowest lows and
In the dark of the coldest winter nights,
Among God’s People,
A Savior is born.
May Jesus the Christ be born among us tonight.
And may the Prince of Peace be born anew in your Heart.