Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Christmas Eve Sermon

Christmas Eve 2021

        Christmas Eve is a hard sermon to preach because it brings to mind one of the most difficult theological concepts we have to wrestle with—INCARNATION.

        Why on earth would God want to become a human being? Why would the Creator want to become incarnate as a creature? What is INCARNATION all about? How does it make sense.

        That’s why, this evening, you get two sermons for the price of one. I need two sermons to deal with the INCARNATION.

        The first sermon is ‘Hound Dogs and confused Ducks’.

        Mark Twain once said, “I love my hound dog, I love my hound dog more than most people. My hound dog is my best and most trusted companion. But there is no way, in heaven or on earth I would become a hound dog to die for my hound dog’s sins.”

        Mark Twain didn’t get the incarnation. He didn’t ‘get it’ at all.

        Then there was a man who lived deep in the woods who was an agnostic, if not an atheist. He just couldn’t believe the ‘incarnation’—he didn’t get why God would become Human.

        Then one night in late December, during a massive snow storm with strong winds, he heard a loud thud against his house.

        He suited up and went outside to find 6 wild ducks, confused and damaged from flying into his house in the storm. He knew he needed to get them into his barn to save their lives. But nothing he tried would work. They just wouldn’t go where he wanted them to go.

        Then he had the idea to go into the barn and get one of his tame ducks. The tame duck and the wild ducks hit it off and when the tame duck ran back to the barn, the wild ducks followed.

        Then the man realized he had had to send ‘one of their own’ to the ducks to save them.

        He suddenly understood the ‘incarnation’ and realized it was Christmas Eve and felt tears on his face in the midst of the storm.


        The second sermon is called “Angel Song”.

        I have tinnitus. It is usually called ‘ringing in the ears’, but it is not always just that. One day, years ago, I turned off our radio, that was tuned to a classical music station, and half-way up our back stairs, I still heard the music playing. I went back to check the radio and it was off.

        So, I realized my brain was just playing the music in my ears.

        Imagine those shepherds—common men and boys—watching their sheep on a dark and cold night when suddenly the sky exploded with angels singing and great wondrous light.

        Have you ever heard the angels’ songs?

        Those shepherds did. And it led them to a barn in Bethlehem to see a mother and her baby and an older father in the background and all the creatures in a barn.

        Did that Angel song play and play again in their ears and hearts as they bowed to the baby and then went back to their flocks?

        I think and hope they heard that song in their heads for days and years and always.

        And on this Night of All Nights, I pray the Angels’ song will live in our ears and minds and hearts for years to come, for always.

        Please God, may we hear the Angels’ song always and may it lead us to the barn, in our hearts, to meet our Savior—God ‘incarnate’—who came to lead us to paradise and make us whole. Whole.



        Amen and Merry Christmas.


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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.