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Nativity of the Lord
Nativity of the Lord Homily Transcript
– Merry Christmas everyone.
– [Congregation] Merry Christmas.
– I hope and I pray that last night on Christmas Eve, and on this Christmas day, it will be the best of Christmas’ for you, and your family members, and for your loved ones. The mystery of this celebration, the holiness of the night, the promise of God fulfilled. God’s word made flesh and comes to us as a child, and we celebrate Christmas. You know, the Christmas story is our story. It belongs to each and every one of us because it is a promise and a gift that God has given to you and to me. Think about the narrative, the story everybody knows, the Christmas story. How Mary is visited by an angel and told that she will conceive and give birth to the savior of the world. Joseph, her spouse, trying to make sense of all of this, and then it’s time for the child to be born, but first they have to go on a journey because a census is being taken place. And so, Mary and Joseph have a journey and he tries to find her a place to stay and there’s no place for them. And so they find a cave, and the child is born in a manger. It’s a powerful story, in some ways it’s a romantic story, and it’s our story. Here this child is born in a manger, in a feeding trough for animals, surrounded by shepherds, the outcasts of society, truly, and by animals. And a mother and a father who rejoice in the birth of a child. Born in a manger, a feeding trough for animals, but the truth of the matter is, this child who was gift to us, who was born in a feeding trough, becomes food for the world forever, for you and for me, God’s great gift. There’s a theologian from the middle ages, his name is Meister Eckhart, and he has this wonderful expression about the nativity, about Christmas. He says that the first word, the first word ever spoken by God, Jesus is the word of God, the first word spoken by God is the word compassion. What he tells us is that Jesus who comes to you, to me, as gift, comes to us as compassion. God’s compassion for you and for me. The word compassion is a wonderful word, compassion means that you walk with, that you journey in life with those who find life difficult, those who suffer in life. This son of God, this child born in a feeding trough comes to us as one who journeys with us through life. Through those good moments and the difficult moments. He comes as food and nourishment for all of us, compassion. Throughout his life, Jesus lives a life of compassion. He shows us how life can best be lived. We follow that in the scriptures as we follow the life of Jesus. Forgiving, feeding, celebrating, embracing, and so much more. You know, here at Mercy Home for Boys and Girls, we have a lot of Christmas celebrations, because we have a lot of young people that are in our care. And most recently, at our Christmas tree lighting, I told them a story that’s a true story about the redwood trees. I don’t know what you know about redwood trees, but I know a little bit about redwood trees. Some of them are over three thousand years old, three thousand years old, before the birth of Christ. Some of them stand over 350 feet tall, 35 stories. They’re awesome, they’re majestic, they’re beautiful. And you wonder how something that large can stand over time. And what I found out about these trees is that the root system is very shallow, they don’t have deep roots. They grow in groves together and the roots of the redwood tree grow vertically. They inter-mesh, they intermingle, they support one another and they hold each other up. For me, that’s a wonderful image of what it is to be apart of this humanity that God sends his son to as we celebrate Christmas. That our role, as followers of the Lord, is to intermingle, to interconnect, to support and to hold up, and to enhance all of humanity. I’m so proud of our young people at Mercy Home, and this is why I told them the story of the redwood trees, is because that’s what they do. They truly do. They take on to their own to theirselves, to make better the world in which we live. We have a project during the advent season and into the Christmas season called Love Chicago. And every one of our young people is involved in showing their love for Chicago. They work together as homes here at Mercy Home. They have food drives for those who are hungry. They have clothing drives for those who are cold. They have writing in Christmas cards that they send to our people in the service. They go and they visit the elderly in nursing homes. They go out into the streets and they feed the homeless. They realize that, if the world is going to be made a better world, that we are all interconnected. And when we work together, when we follow the invitation of this child who invites us to follow in his ways, the world is enhanced and made better. This child, this gift, given to you and given to me, who’s birth we celebrate this day for over two thousand years, brings people together, brings the best out of us, and invites us to enhance our families, our relationships with our friends, the places in which we work, the communities in which we live, so that the song of the angels that we sing on this day might truly become a reality in our lives and in our world. Let there be peace on earth amongst all.
John 1:1-18 or 1:15, 9-14
A special thank you this week to our friends the Mercy Home Board Members.
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