Friday, December 25, 2015

Sermon; Christmas Day 2015; John 1:1-14

In the beginning . . . So begins one of the greatest paragraphs in all of literature.  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.  What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

This is a great paragraph because, at its heart, it is the foundation – the beginning – of a love story.  It is a love story between God and creation, in that the love of God was sufficient to create.  It is a love story between God and his people, in that he provided a way forward, a light, so that people would not stumble or get lost in the dark.

But as can happen with love stories, they sometimes lose their appeal, they lose their luster, they lose their love.  That adorable little baby you spend time cooing over, going gaga and taking myriad of pictures grows up into a teenager, you have a falling out and, before you know it, you haven't spoken for ten or more years.  Or watch “Forensic Files.”  It won't be long before you will come across an episode of a husband or wife committing murder for one reason or another.

What went wrong?  Where did the love go?  There are a lot of answers and opinions to those questions.  One answer is that daily life happened.  Sometimes when we live with someone day after day, year after year, it becomes a grind.  Cute habits become major annoyances.  Before long it's as if we no longer know the person we had fallen in love with.

In the beginning, in the day the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, the Lord God put the man and woman in a garden.  And the man and woman walked with God.  But after awhile this daily and continual relationship got to be a grind.  The man and the woman drifted away from God and it was as if they no longer knew the person of greatest love.

This is exactly what John was addressing in his first paragraph:  He was in the world, yet the world did not know him.  He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him.  Maybe it was familiarity that led to separation.  Maybe it was everyday life that caused people to lose that lovin' feeling (sorry Bill and Bobby).

Today is Christmas.  I know we had the big celebration last night, but today is the day and today is the first of the twelve days.  The words of the Collect point to the birth and that we may be daily renewed in God's grace.

To be daily renewed is, in some respects, to go back to the beginning.  In the beginning we loved our children with a love as intense and pure as we could imagine.  In the beginning we loved our partner unconditionally and foolishly.  In the beginning we were with God.  In the beginning we walked in light.

Christmas reminds us that God hasn't stopped loving us.  Christmas reminds us that the eternal God became a mortal human to reconnect with us.  Christmas reminds us that God was looking to start again, to find a place of new beginnings.

In the beginning there was love.  In the beginning there was a child.  God has done his part.  For those of us searching for God, or for those of us looking to renew and strengthen our relationship, maybe we should pay attention to John's wonderful first paragraph.

This Christmas, maybe we could look to, look back, and try to emulate what was and what could be . . . In the beginning.



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