First Sunday of Christmas – Series C 

The commercial Christmas which we have all just lived through, only knows the false joys of getting presents, big screen televisions, and new clothes. It is superficial. It does not reach deep into the lives of people, and if it does, it often brings great guilt and loneliness as the superficiality gets peeled back to reveal our deepest hurts and longings. This is the time of year when suicide hotlines are busy. January will see a spike in deaths of despair. Commercial Christmas does not bring health, resilience, or hope.

But there is another Christmas, the real Christmas, which you have a chance to preach today. This Christmas brings the incarnation right into the hardest and darkest corners of our lives and this world. Mary will watch her son die a cruel and tortuous death. Simeon and Anna are old and solitary people, hanging around church. Joseph is poor, unable to buy that lamb. Jesus steps into that world, vulnerable as a the infant in Mary’s arms, dependent on her care. Was she a good mother? She was probably a teenager. Did she know what to do with diaper rash? I would imagine so. Young girls in that time were probably better equipped to be mothers than today. They did not know how to read, but they had been handed the lore and experience which comes from being asked to care for younger siblings and cousins. But still, she was hardly more than a child herself.

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