Scripture Readings: Isaiah 52:7–10 | Psalm 98 | Hebrews 1:1–12 | John 1:1–14
“And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father’s only son, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
What do you want for Christmas?
What gifts are we looking for today?
Setting aside all of the stuff we can find in stores… or shop for online… all the presents that we can wrap up and put under a tree, or into stockings… what is it that you and I and our neighbours are truly longing for today? If we could have anything, anything at all, what would we ask for?
For a deep sense of community? For friendship, and fellowship? To be truly known, and still truly welcomed.
For happiness? Fulfillment? To feel completely free from drudgery or despair?
Maybe for stability? For healing, and wholeness… both in ourselves, and our relationships. For a bright future, for ourselves, our loved ones, and our world… or even just a light to guide us through a dark season of life?
What do we really want for Christmas?
What are we longing for today?
What if the gift that we need most of all has already been given? What if it’s just waiting to be remembered… and received for all that it has to offer?
The whole story of the Holy Scriptures tells of God’s gracious generosity… of His strong desire to bless and bring beauty and abundant life to His beloved Creation. And when we humans chose to cling to the darkness instead of embracing His light again and again, the Bible recounts how our Heavenly Father faithfully continues to give us far more than we could ever ask for or deserve.
Giving us Hope, not just for eternity, but for today too… offering us the courage to carry on, knowing that even when we walk through the darkest valleys… even through the shadow of death, we need not be afraid for we are not alone… the God of life walks with us.
He gives us His Peace which goes beyond all understanding, bringing our shattered lives together again… so we can take part together in the harmony God has in store for heaven and earth.
He gives us Joy, knowing that all our world’s many sorrows have been bourn by our mighty Saviour, who will not rest until every tear has been wiped away, and all the world has been made new.
And He gives us His Love, reaching out to embrace us all, even when our hard hearts had turned Him away… a love that led Christ Jesus to the cross, dying to bring us true life… a love that proved even stronger than death, as Christ Jesus was raised again from the grave, to share in His Father’s glory, and share His own resurrection life with us.
All that we truly need… all that our hearts yearn for has already been given: Christ Jesus is God’s great gift to us: heaven and earth all wrapped up in the body of a little babe, laid in a manger long ago, to bring us into God’s light.
This Chosen One, who is the Word of God, who from the beginning was with God, and was God, became one of us… became one with us… taking on our frail humanity, our flesh and blood… becoming a human child, given to all, so that all who believe in Him might become God’s children too. That in Him, we too might be filled with the Hope, and Peace, and Joy, and Love that Jesus has always shared with His Heavenly Father, and with the Holy Spirit.
In the gift of Jesus, the Christ child born this day, God gives us Himself. All that the Living God is has been shared with us in His Son… in Emmanuel, God-with-us.
What else could we want than what God gives to us today? To share in the divine life of the Trinity, the source and Creator of all Hope, and Peace, and Joy, and Love… not only on some distant day, but now, today? To glimpse now the glory, and grace, and truth of the LORD, and to live even now in His light?
Jesus Himself is the gift we all need today… those gathered here at St. Luke’s, and those who will never darken our doors.
So may we receive all that God gives us in Him, and may His gracious light shine through us so that all those in our lives might come to receive Him too.
I’ll end now with a sonnet by the Rev. Malcolm Guite:
O come, O come and be our God-with-us,
O long-sought with-ness for a world without,
O secret seed, O hidden spring of light.
Come to us Wisdom, come unspoken Name,
Come Root, and Key, and King, and holy Flame,
O quickened little wick so tightly curled,
Be folded with us into time and place,
Unfold for us the mystery of grace
And make a womb of all this wounded world.
O heart of heaven beating in the earth,
O tiny hope within our hopelessness,
Come to be born, to bear us to our birth,
To touch a dying world with new-made hands
And make these rags of time our swaddling bands.
Amen, and Merry Christmas.
 Malcolm Guite, Sounding the Seasons: Seventy Sonnets for the Christian Year (Norwich, UK: Canterbury Press, 2012), 13.
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Rev. Rob serves as the Priest-in-Charge at St. Luke's Gondola Point, and as the School Chaplain at Rothesay Netherwood School