‘Twas the Night Before Christmas (Sermon)

Christmas Eve Sermon

Trinity Lutheran, Steelton PA

12/24/2015

 

Twas the night before Christmas

And all through the pews

The people sat waiting

To hear the good news.

complete-church-midnight-mass_3135957575
Wikimedia Commons.

The preacher had done

All her prep work with care:

It’s her first Christmas sermon,

Which is quite the affair!

 

She found herself asking,

As she sat down to write,

“I wonder what my people

Will need most tonight?”

 

She’s still getting to know them

(She’s new to the job)

But odds are that her flock

Is a mixed kind of mob:

 

There are some who will gather

In high Christmas spirit:

They really have bells on

So you can actually hear it.

 

There are those so in touch

With their innermost child

That the anticipation

Has made them half-wild.

 

eggnog2

One’s been counting the days

Til they can light the Yule log.

One’s already OD’ed

On the special eggnog.

 

But alongside of the people

Who feel merry and bright

Are those people here gathered

Who aren’t there.  Not quite.

 

There’s one who just realized

As she came through the door

That she forgot three crucial things

At the grocery store.

 

One hasn’t finished

Their gift buying yet.

One has, and is feeling

The keen pinch of debt.

 

450px-le_poinsettia_illumine_les_fc3aates_de_fin_d27annc3a9eThere’s one stopping to smell

The poinsettia flowers

Knowing full well

The kids are up in five hours.

 

One is dreading

The family drama tomorrow.

One has no place to go,

Much to their sorrow.

 

At least one is missing

A loved one who’s died.

Despite all their efforts,

It’s a blue Christmastide.

 

(One is probably hoping

The sermon is snappy

Because they’re only here

To keep mom and dad happy.)

 

With a crowd so assorted,

What’s a preacher to preach?

What possible message

Has that kind of reach?

 

 

Then it occurred to the preacher

As she sat down to type

That maybe her sermon

Didn’t have to live up to the hype.

 

Maybe the reason you’re here

Isn’t pizzazz or tradition,

But to hear once again

This great exposition:

 

God came to earth

On that Bethlehem night.

God slipped into skin

Right in plain sight.

 

geertgen_tot_sint_jans_the_nativity_at_night_c_1490

God chose to be born—

It’s the craziest thing!

Have you seen birth?  It’s messy!

And this is the king of all kings!

 

But the all-powerful God

Who created the earth

Entered creation

Through the blood and water of birth

 

Becoming a baby,

God put Godself at our mercy

(When you think about it

That’s a huge controversy.)

 

And not only did God

Choose to enter our race,

God chose to do it

In a particular place:

 

Not in a palace

But with cows, goats, and sheep

In a place where there wasn’t

Even a cradle for sleep.

 

Now, at least God steps it up

For the birth announcement:

And gathers the angels

For the great pronouncement.250px-the_annunciation_to_the_shepherds_1663_abraham_hondius

 

But then, once again,

God goes off script

The angels are sent to those

Who we might have skipped.

 

The shepherds all watching

Their flocks in the night

Are not VIPS.  They are small.

They are slight.

 

But it’s them who God chooses

To share the good news:

“Christ is born tonight,

And born just for you.”

 

For you,” says the angel.

“For you…and for all.”

No matter how big.

No matter how small.

 

adoration_of_the_shepherds_reni

Let that report sound

Through our worship this eve:

Let it be the glad cry

Of all who believe:

 

God came to earth

On that dark Christmas night

To give to the world

Love, truth, and Light.

 

Christ is for you,

No matter your story.

Whoever you are,

Come share in this glory:

 

God so loved the world

That he could wait not one minute longer

To prove that, through all trials,

God’s love is stronger.

 

Christ came for you.

For all.  And forever.

And nothing can change that.

Not a thing whatsoever.

 

So blessed Christmas to you.

For wherever your heart,

Whether full of good cheer,

Or needing fresh start,

 

Christ came for you.

So I’ll say it again:

That’s how God so loved the world.

Blessed Christmas.  Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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