Live In Both Worlds

Hi friends!  Happy New Year!  I hope y’all had a wonderful Christmas celebration.  I am posting (albeit very delayed) my sermon from Christmas Eve.  Probably not super relevant at the moment considering we’ve all moved past Christmas (although my tree is still up #waitingforepiphany #actuallyjustdontfeelliketakingitdown), BUT I do think the concept of living in both worlds is super applicable to our faith throughout the year, not just on Christmas.



Sarah Weaver
Rehoboth Congregational Church
Rehoboth, MA
December 24, 2017

Live In Both Worlds {A Christmas Eve Sermon}

When I asked the Church School parents if they had any ideas for this year’s Christmas pageant, I had no idea that we not only end up with an adorably creative pageant for the early service, but that I would also be inspired for my Christmas Eve sermon, as well.

Arsenio Uhrig called me and said, “It’ll be like the Polar Express.”

He had my attention.

The train would be traveling to Bethlehem, watching the Christmas story play out through the train windows. To keep it simple, the kids who wanted speaking roles would play the parts of the train conductors, who were narrating the story and the kids who did want speaking roles would be the animals, angels, shepherds, etc.

I was quickly writing down notes as I was talking to Arsenio so when I got off the phone I could start writing the script. But then he said something that caused me to pause.

“And then the wise men will get on the train and it will take them to Bethlehem.”

Okay, I thought to myself. I am not entirely sure how that will work, but let me start writing and I will figure it out.

So I started writing; and, as I always do when I am writing the Christmas pageant, I was having a blast. It is so fun to think of new and fun ways to tell this story. But when I got to the part where the wise men hop off their camels and jump aboard the train, I was confused.

What time period am I writing this in, I asked myself? Our time or Jesus’ time? If the wise men get on the train, then we break through some sort of time barrier and exist in both worlds, right?

Or is that whole point of celebrating Christmas every year?

I realized as I was writing this pageant, that part of the magic of Christmas and the grace that is given to us every time we hear this story is that we can enact it in our world today. We may be remembering events that happened 2,000 years ago, but we can gain inspiration from them in our lives. We can still hold onto the hope that God is going to break forth into our world and use us, redeem us and inspire us.

The first Christmas may have happened 2,000 years ago, but the heart of the Christmas message – that God enters the brokenness of our lives, that God calls ordinary people to do extraordinary things, that God’s redemption is not a one-time thing and that God’s light always shines – well that is still very much happening today.

So tonight, as we hear this familiar story and sing the familiar carols, I invite you to live in both worlds.

As we hear the call of Mary to give birth to the Christ child, may we think about the ways God is calling us into ministry. And when Mary says, “Yes!” may we, too, say, “Yes!” to God.

As we sing, O Little Town of Bethlehem, may we think about the journeys that we are on and how God is guiding them and where they are taking us. We may not know exactly what the future has in store for us, but this story assures us that God will guide us to where we need to be.

When we remember the part of the story where there is no room anywhere for Mary and Joseph to stay, may we remember the hospitality of the innkeeper and our own responsibility to welcome people into our own midst, whether they be family, friends, strangers or enemies.

As the angels sing, “Glory to God in the highest heaven!” may we ask ourselves, how are we proclaiming the Good News that God is here today? How are we telling others about our faith and about our church that, I believe, is changing lives?

As the shepherds gather their animals and head to Bethlehem to see the Christ child for themselves, may we ponder the ways that we leave the comfort of the routines of our lives and follow Christ.

As the wise men follow the star to Bethlehem and offer their gifts to Jesus, may we think about how we offer our own gifts to God. How do we give back – of our time, of our energy and of our money?

When we hear that familiar passage from the Gospel of John – “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God and the word was God … and the word became flesh and lived among us” – may we open our eyes to the ways that the word is still being made flesh among us. How is scripture coming alive today?

As we light our candles and sing, Silent Night, may we feel the still and calm presence of God granting us peace, courage and hope for the new year.

As we remember the words of the Prophet Isaiah – “The people who have walked in darkness have seen a great light!” – may we look for God’s light in the darkness and may we take that light and let it shine for all the world to see.

And as we enter into the service of Lessons & Carols and hear the story of the angels and then notice that the bulletin is inviting us to sing, Hark the Harold – H-A-R-O-L-D, not H-E-R-A-L-D – Angels Sing, may we remember that Jesus was born into an imperfect world, one where there are sometimes typos in the Christmas Eve bulletin.

Isn’t it amazing how this Christmas story so beautifully fits together with the pieces of our lives today?

So friends, tonight I invite you to hear this story and put yourself right into it. But do not take yourself out of this world! Live in both worlds! Live in your life today as you travel with Mary and Joseph to Bethlehem.

And be amazed; be amazed at the ways in which this story still carries so much meaning, so much inspiration and so much grace in our world today.

Merry Christmas, everyone.

Thanks be to God!

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