A Christmas Message
“Dare to Hope, Dare to Rejoice, Dare to Love”
In this time of the constant news cycle, when fear and anxiety are pervasive,
how do we dare to proclaim the message of Christmas?
How do you and I dare to hope, dare to work for peace, dare to rejoice, dare to love?
But that my friends is exactly what we are asked to do. You are here tonight for a reason – yes you. Perhaps you were dragged here by your grandmother or because you simply find yourself in church on Christmas Eve, perhaps you are here desperate for a good word or perhaps you are full of gratitude and wonder at the blessings in your life. You are here for a whole variety of reasons, but you are here for a reason. That you may enter the mystery and wonder of Christmas Eve.
Here and now in this time and in this place.
Yes, I grant you, lately, the wonder has been difficult to fathom and the miracles more difficult to see, but they are still happening. The miracles of joy and love and peace and hope are still springing forth. Amidst the confusion and the mean spiritedness of our days, the spirit of the Christ-child is still being born again and again. You hear it in the music and in the stories, you see it in the kindness of strangers and the generosity of neighbors.
We live in times when it is easy to despair –believing that the world has lost its way. And it is then, in the face of despair that we must dare to hope.
We find ourselves still at war in places far away and sometimes at our own dinner tables, we know that all too often violence and hatred is the default response. We must dare to work for peace, to continue to imagine a world of peace, it takes faith to sing that the prince of peace is born, but we must sing that song of peace into a world gone mad for war.
We know the contrast of Christmas Joy with the specter of Washington politics, tax reform benefitting the wealthiest and a sense that our leadership is in a state of continuing crisis. And we dare to rejoice? Yes, we dare to rejoice. We dare to rejoice in the wonder and in the miracles, in the laughter of friends and in the giggles of a child, in the full plate and in the overflowing food box, in the gift under the tree and the gift given to a stranger. We dare to rejoice.
In a world of hate, of division and name calling, of bullying and mis use of power, we can dare to love. We can witness to a love which forgives and nurtures, which honors each child of God with dignity. We can dare to love the ones who hardest to love.
Why you ask, why should I not give into the despair? Give into the power struggle? Give into the greed and the selfishness.
Because my friends, that is not the world we were given, nor the world in which you and I want to live.
It is not easy, but We can dare to hope, dare to work for peace, dare to rejoice and dare to love because we have been loved, we have been forgiven, and though we may not realize it, we have been held up when we could not stand on our own.
May the Christ child this night break in, God with us, God among us, God one of us , showing us the way, hope in the desolation, a light in the darkness, peace in the storm, generosity in the midst of scarcity, love in the face of apathy and life, life springing forth from death.
In the greatest of hope, Thanks be to God. Amen.