Witness His Majesty – Christmas Eve
24th December, christmas eve, pastor adrian kitson, shepherds, The Spirit holds our faces in his hands
2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness
from that time on and for ever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields near by, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’
Friends, I wonder if the Spirit of God is yelling at us – not in anger but in a call to something good and something new at the end of a weary year.
Is the Spirit is holding your face in his big hands and telling you the best news you really need to hear this long year.
- Beyond your resentment about the control of your every move by these face masks, QR codes and vaccines and all this now restricted life,
- beyond your confusion about who and what you have lost,
- beyond your sadness about all the things you are not and can’t seem to be and do,
- beyond all the deep worry about the dollars and the future for the family,
- beyond all your pain when she left, when you made that mistake, when that long relationship is now just not the same,
- beyond all your fears about this climate and this culture and this world and this tired body or unmapped future …
Through this Jesus with us, among is, as us, God signals the beginning of a process to end the present pain, suffering, tragedy, grief, loss, anger, violence, breaking community and replace it with the new community of faith, hope and love under this boy-King’s grace despite it all and in it all.
The former way of chasing our desires and pleasures and ideas and needs everywhere but in this shed,
- where the Accuser runs rampant and his destruction is accomplished daily,
- where life is unfair, brutal, confusing, harmful;
- where people rip people off, people are always on the take, power goes to our heads and pride drives the cycle on and on,
- where our bodies fall ill, get weaker, have less ability to bounce back,
- where dying and death are our ever-present reality
there is a whole new light and life going on and it started with this boy-King.
He begins God’s great unravelling of all that cuts us, confuses us and kills us.
The new King is here. His new way is here right in the middle of the old one. God’s good news of a good news community for this planet and all its people begins off centre, out of the usual channels to show us God really means this, God really is this; here, present, aware and calling us through to his different way.
- Usually the birth of a potentially significant person was told with great fanfare, the birth of Jesus takes place in an ordinary house in an ordinary town.
- Jesus is in the wrong city. He is not born in Rome or Jerusalem, but modest insignificant Bethlehem.
- The news is announced to the wrong people – not G20 world leaders gathering or dinner with tie and tuxedo for the key players in town but work clothes, travel clothes, no baby-clothes.
We can tell what God is saying by the way he begins – the presence of this Jesus begin outside the formal power structures of the nation moves us to look elsewhere for the hope and the life on offer.
Evermore, we Christians listen to people, ideas, groups, and movements in out-of-the-way places, unpowerful, unsuccessful, places that point to the new life of this new way in operation –
- where care and mutual respect and love for people is evident;
- where making money is down the list and making peace is up,
- where fashion and competition, winning and power are unnecessary;
- where forgiveness is highly sought and given above rights and self.
Friends, the quiet shift-worker going about his night-time work heard it. Hope is here. Love can conquer it all and has. I can trust again. We can reach God, because he has reached us. He is not deaf or on mute. God is speaking and doing and living and breathing our air.
God knows us, creates us, destines us for his greatness; he will be the final judge of all the evil and the mess and those perpetrating it all. God is clearer than mere fate, mere luck; he has created a new community of mutual support to which isolated humans can know his never-ending support through his people; his freedom to be loved and love and hope and live in any health or lack of and the beginning of the death of our dying and death.
The Spirit holds our faces in his hands and speaks the breath of new joy into our bodies. And he got it.
Those shift-working shepherd must have got it because they got there. Are you there yet?
Can you feel the breath of God brushing your face and getting to your heart as that new-born felt the breath of those cows warming his?
Most of you can say what those shepherds heard in your sleep. It is so familiar at Christmas that it might put you to sleep!
Please don’t go to sleep!
See it. Know it. Trust this word of good news. Then live it.
God is pleased with an everyday woman or man, doing his job telling anyone who will listen this good news.
2 There is light in any darkness
I have seen a new light;
It has dawned on me.
6 For us all a child is born, and he governs your and my life,
not all the other stuff.
He counsels me, gives us the strength to prevail in forgiveness and love when everyone else gives up.
I am not my own peace. He is everyone’s peace.
Peace that will not run dry or be expunged by the worst of it or them.
He is still establishing and upholding this peace
and this new life in the old.
With him there is true and fair justice for all
and lasting and repeating new chance, forgiveness,
healing, new start. I did not achieve any of this or make any of this happen.
Like those shepherds I just got told, just got re-born, just got a whole new hope and lifer that is my good news for everyday of this life.
The commitment and power and love of God did this. (from Isaiah 9)
As he changed their scene by interrupting their routine, let these angels and this scene with a thousand foot wall of good news words with this boy interrupt your Christmas routine.
You’ll have a lot to say and do that will be new. Some will listen.
(1st + 3rd of Month)
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