SERMON PREACHED BY THE REV'D DAPHNE B. NOYES AT THE CHURCH OF THE ADVENT,
DECEMBER 24, 2011, CHRISTMAS EVE (FAMILY MASS)

Tonight is Christmas Eve and I am going to talk about change. So to get started, let’s see who is here.

Big sisters? Children and adults – raise your hands!

Big brothers? Raise your hands!

Parents?  Hands up!

Why do I ask? If you are a big sister, or a big brother, or a parent – you know about change. Specifically, you know that when a new baby comes into your household, into your life, everything changes. 

And tonight, Christmas Eve, is all about change.

What is this Christmas change? In sending Jesus to us, God’s love becomes a love than can be seen: a love that looks like, and feels like, and sounds like a new little baby.

In the familiar Carol “Away in a manger…” we sing, “The Little Lord Jesus, no crying he makes…” But I bet if you were there, if you were with Mary and Joseph and the shepherds and the angels, you would know that baby Jesus did cry sometimes – we know he cried as an adult - and as a baby he did drink milk, and need to be changed, and need to be held and rocked to sleep – all the things that you needed when you were a baby.

But most of all, babies need to be loved.

Well, all of us, whatever age we are, need to be loved. And Jesus brings love, God’s love, and gives us love, God’s love. The love of God, the love that we could feel but couldn’t see, we now can see. We look Jesus right in the eye and see our own reflection.  And Jesus looks us right in the eye and sees his own reflection.

So far this may sound like a pretty picture, that when God’s love comes into the world as the baby Jesus, everything is wonderful and fine and peaceful. But this is not the whole story. The season of Christmas is a good time for us to think about the changes that a baby – that a new life – brings into our lives. The incarnation – the taking-on-of-flesh – of Jesus brings some of the biggest change we will ever know. 

When Jesus came into this world, his arrival turned the lives of his parents upside down. Actually, their lives started being turned upside down when the angel Gabriel first told Mary about God’s crazy plan for her to bear a son and name him Jesus.

 Jesus’ coming into the world was like an explosion of love – God’s love for all of us. God had been holding this love for a long, long time, and could no longer contain it. So God’s love came to life in Jesus.

Tonight I want to remind you that Jesus came into the world looking like just like you did when you were born. He did all the things that babies do, sleeping and eating and fussing and smiling. But most of all, he came carrying God’s endless love for us into the world. aJesus reminds us that God’s love is bigger than all our joys and all our sorrows.  And this never changes.

God’s love enters in our hearts and changes us.  We think about the people around us differently. We think about the world differently. We have God’s love to hold on to when life is rough and times are hard. We have God’s love when we are so happy and want to share that joy. God’s love is with us forever.

Tonight we celebrate that love by singing and praying and giving gifts. Tonight we say, “Thank you, God. We love you, and we’re glad you’re here.” And God smiles, looks us right in the eye, and says to us, “Thank you. I love you, and I’m glad you’re here.”