Monday, December 25, 2017
Year B Christmas Eve Family Service 2017
Year B Christmas Eve Early (4:30 pm) 2017
St. James the Less Episcopal, Ashland, VA
[Invite all the children to come to the front on the steps and join me.]
Good evening! And Merry Christmas.
What is the big deal? I hear about Christmas everywhere I go. When I turn on the radio,
they talk about Christmas. When I go into a store, they are decorated and talk about
Christmas. Christmas is a really big deal.
And we talk about Christmas at Church, too. Have you noticed how we talk about
Christmas and how others places talk about Christmas can be different? Christmas started
at Church, and the good feelings and all the warm, comforting thoughts went out and
everyone wanted to share in them.
I love this time of year. And when I remember the story of how Jesus was born, I cannot
forget the rest of his life. I have to all the things he came to say, about how we should
love each other, and love even people who think they hate us. And I think on how he
loves everyone, even those who hurt him and were very mean to him.
When he was a baby, people did not know the rest of the story like we do. They did not
know all that was going to happen. All they knew was that two strangers far from home
needed help, and the shepherds knew that angels told them to go and look for a baby
where they keep animals. Funny, but that is where they looked and that is where they
found baby Jesus.
And when I try to understand what Christmas means, it reminds me of a time with my
One time, when I was VERY young, like 4 or 5, long before I could grow a beard with all
this grey in it, I was trying to do something, and it was not very easy. In fact, it was probably too hard for me to do, but I thought I could do it anyway.
Well, my dad noticed what I was doing. He stopped and watched me for a while, and saw
what a hard time I was having. But he waited for a while, wanting to give me a chance.
And finally I got so frustrated, I asked for help. So he got down on the floor with me, and
showed me how it was done. He stayed with me until I was able to do it, too. Now I was
not as good as he was, but I was trying, and I was learning how to do it right. And he
stayed with me while I learned. And once I learned, he left me to keep practicing.
Christmas is a lot like that. We tried for a long time to live right, and do right, but we were
not very good at it. So God got down here on our level, and showed us all the right way
to live. We were not as good at it as he was, but he waited with us while we learned. And
once we started to get it right, he left us so we could keep practicing.
That is what Christmas is all about. God loving us so much, he got down on our level to
show us how to do things right. I John puts it this way:
God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the
world so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God
but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.
[I John 4:9-10]
When you think about Jesus, and the gift that came that first Christmas, then I want you
think about how all that love, how all that care, how all that God, fit into so small a
The word for a number so big you cannot count it is Infinite, and God is like that. God
goes on forever! And on Christmas we stop and remember when the Infinite became an
Infant, someone so weak and small. Something so fragile, so beautiful, so much like all of
us. God loved us that much. And when I think on that, I feel that love.