There will Christmas Be
The Rev. Jon Roberts
Good Shepherd Episcopal Church
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God; 3 all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. 6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came for testimony, to bear witness to the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light. 9 The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world knew him not. 11 He came to his own home, and his own people received him not. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God; 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father. 15 (John testified concerning him. He cried out, saying, “This is the one I spoke about when I said, ‘He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.’”) 16 Out of his fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and[b] is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known.
We Believe in Christmas by Karen Kingsbury, 2008
On this Christmas morning, I'm going to read you a story. It is called "We Believe in Christmas," by Karen Kingsbury. It's a contemporary story that always finds Christmas in tradition. It is wonderfully illustrated, with a picture of the family traveling to church on Christmas Eve in their minivan. On their way, they pass the person ringing the bell for the Salvation Army. They stop to visit Santa and sit on his knee, wishing him well on his journey and getting in a last request. Then, they finally walk across the street to the church and get ready for the big pageant.
It begins, "We believe in Christmas and the message of the star. We believe in Christmastime whatever age you are. And so let's look for Christmas now; It might be very near - As close as finding Jesus Christ in what we see and hear. Then when we talk of wondrous awe, no matter what we see, let's think back in wondrous awe, and their will Christmas be. And if we speak of readiness and wrappings red and green, imagine getting ready then, and there will Christmas be. And when we sing of silent night, and some notes are off-key, picture that true Silent Night, and there will Christmas be. When 'happy holidays' rings out, however real it seems, remember that first Holy Day, and there will Christmas be. If asking for the perfect gift, that special thing you need, think of that one Greatest Gift, and there will Christmas be. And should they whisper 'I believe' when sitting on his knee, whisper, 'I believe this more,' and there will Christmas be. When there are cries of angels, child, calling joyfully, see those angels shouting out, and there will Christmas be. And if we want the perfect star to shine upon our tree, look and see that Brightest Star, and there will Christmas be. Now when we welcome traveling guests, no matter whom we greet, remember those three traveling guests, and there will Christmas be. And if they wish us peace on earth amid December's weeks, find the greatest Peace on Earth, and there will Christmas be.
When we gather round the tree, no matter how much glee, remember that old rugged tree, and there will Christmas be. Yes, we believe in Christmas. It's the miracle we need. When we think of Jesus Christ, then there will Christmas be. For we believe in Christmas, and together you and me will always find our Christmas if it's Jesus that we keep."
Jesus is indeed the reason for this season. It is more than a remembrance that we keep. If we are to find the true meaning of Christmas, we have to know who that baby was and we have to know who he is. Many are going to lose the tenses this season. They are going to see only an ever-growing shadow from a bygone era. They don't have an immortal view of Christ. He was born into this world as a baby. He did some miraculous things when he grew up, and he had a bad death. They shrug their shoulders and say he was a good teacher, but nothing more.
The Church does not and should not become a museum for the dead. Instead, it should always be a shrine for the living; For we proclaim the living God, through His living Son, and by His living Spirit. One cannot know who Christ was, or who Christ is, unless they understand or at least feel that he has always been alive and present. How else can we hear the gospel according to John, when he says in one of the most popular verses ever quoted, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made."
Yes, God came down from heaven to earth, in the form of flesh and he lived then as he lives now. When we break the bread at the Christ-mas, there will Christmas be. His very flesh and body, is conceived in our soul. It is a new manger scene. He doesn't want us to perish. Don't lose the tenses this season. See that God conjoins that which is contemporary with that which is traditional. He brings that which is old to that which is new. That is the story we see at Christmas. It provokes a reverent awe, as each and every one of us, hopes as well to catch a bright star. Think about that when you sign Silent Night; when you ask for the perfect gift; when you hear the joyful sound of children; when you gather 'round a tree keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his son Jesus, and there will Christmas be.