As we gather together this night, we are reminded by the children here with us, of the joy and spirit of this holy night. For whatever reason, they always know very well what this night is all about. We do too I suppose, but the difference between us adults and them is this, they know how to keep the Spirit of this night alive the other 364 days of the year. The rest of us, well, we are lucky if we keep the Spirit of Christmas alive long enough to make it to the parking lot.
So as much as they enjoy this night and tomorrow morning, our kids don't really need it - We however, need it now more than ever, because year after year, we continually screw it up.
There is something about a tiny baby in a manger that causes us all, at least for one night, to suppress the selfish, hateful tendencies that rule the major part of our lives the other 364 days of the year.
And as adults, there are many reasons why we get estranged from this night. In this past year, there may have been moments in you life that seemed to be spiraling out of control, moments that God seemed distant or absent, or moments that just left you holding your head in your hands and not knowing what to do. Some may even be having such a moment tonight.
Separation from loved ones, feelings of loneliness or despair, feelings of uncertainty and doubt, trying to deal with family frustrations, trying to care for a sick or dying loved one, trying to deal with pains that no one else knows about - So much piles up on us, so many burdens we have to carry, so many moments of not knowing whether or not we can even bare to take another step. My God.
A few years ago a friend of mine sent me a text message a couple days before Christmas, It said this:
My Child you worry too much, remember I've got this all under control......love God.
We tend to forget that.
If we were to boil it down, that's what Christmas is all about.
In this sweet innocent little child, we are reminded that God is with us, and that God does have it all under control.
Our Scriptures today tell us once again that even in the darkness we face, that Jesus Christ came into the midst of that darkness to dispel it - and no matter what, no matter how dark it may get for us, darkness will never overcome the light.
So while we may gather together this night as different people than we were last year. While we may gather around the dinner table with a family which now has an empty seat, or tell stories that may be a little bit more bitter - its ok - because Jesus, this baby child, the Son of God came among us to be with us through it all.
So as we celebrate today, and even more as we celebrate this holy season together - Whatever you family is or isn't, I want you to bring them down here to this manger scene - lay your burdens, your tears, your anxieties, your messes, lay it all at the feet of the baby Jesus. And to the kids here I'm talking especially to you,--- some day before or after church, bring your family down here to the manger scene, stand before the holy family, and offer a prayer together for your family - that Jesus may watch over you all in the coming year. You need to remind you parents and all of us again and again what Christmas is really all about. We're kinda dense, we forget so easily, and we really need you to help us.
My child, you worry too much, remember I've got this under control - love God.
For His presence with us no matter what life might throw at us - the joyful times, the awful times - for his presence with us this Christmas night, and For loving us more than we deserve and more than we could ever imagine. Thanks be to God. Merry Christmas +