Someone who heard it asked me to publish my brief Christmas Day talk so here it is:
What does the manner of Jesus’ coming teach us?
He comes as a child, to teach us to be childlike. To wonder. To imagine. To create and be playful. To be innocent – not cynical or manipulative, not trying to control, but to approach the world with wonder and open hearts. That can be hard in a world that can be full of stress – it invites us to notice the small things around us.
In coming as a human, Jesus elevates humanity. He confers honour upon it – and connects us to one another and to him. Humanity acquires a sacred state and its why so much of Jesus’ teaching is about how we treat one another. In the First World War, when the soldiers stopped fighting on Christmas Day and played football with their enemies – they were recognising the humanity in one another which transcended their hostility, calling that to mind on the day that Jesus was born.
He comes as a King, but not as one who dominates or goes to war but as one who serves, who shows humility and turns the other cheek. He is not a King who calls us subjects but friends. He washes the feet of his friends at the last supper which we will recall later in our communion service. He lays down his life for us – a very different King. He is a King who offers us choice, who invites us to eat with him.
And he comes in poor circumstances and has to flee as a refugee. It’s as if appropriate plans were not made for the birth of this amazing child – surely he could have come to something better for his start in life. The event planner didn’t do their job properly! But he comes that way to show solidarity with those who are poor, who suffer, who live in occupied lands or are persecuted. He shows they are fully human, fully seen and loved by God. He affirms their identity, worth and value by coming as one of them. All humans are precious and beloved, made in Gods image. We here are connected to one another by his coming. By coming as one of us, Jesus affirms humanity and elevates our status.
All of these images give us hope: hope for better relationships; for recognising the humanity of each person we meet; hope for a better world and a better future, based on deeper human connections. I hope your Christmas is joyful and warm and has moments of wonder and playfulness and opportunities for deeper human connections with your loved ones. I pray you will all have a blessed day today. Amen.