For the congregation:
On this most Holy Night, as we once again hear the story of our savior’s birth, as we sing those beloved hymns, say our prayers and eat the bread of life and drink from the cup of salvation, we are called forth to follow that star, just like those in that story our children heard this night.
Why do we follow? Maybe W.H. Auden put it best:
To discover how to be truthful nowW.H. Auden, Star of the Nativity from For The Time Being, A Christmas Oratorio
Is the reason I follow this star.
We anticipate or remember but never are.
To discover how to be living now
Is the reason I follow this star…
…we have only the vaguest idea why we are what we are
To discover how to be human now
Is the reason we follow this star.
Indeed, we follow that star to be among those who gathered around that manger and worshipped what God had promised to bring. We follow to understand our humanity and our place in the world. Now its our turn to open our hearts, to see the Christ child not only in the manger but in our midst, to See the star right now, outside of this Church, to see it on the way home tonight, and know it still beckons us each and every day of our lives. The star is a symbol like Christmas reminding us of God’s presence even in dark moments.
[In my notes but not preached at 5 PM:
In the words of Dr. Howard Thurman…
The symbol of Christmas - what is it? It is the rainbow arched over the roof of the sky when the clouds are heavy with foreboding. It is the cry of life in the newborn babe when, forced from its mother's nest, it claims its right to live. It is the brooding Presence of the Eternal Spirit making crooked paths straight, rough places smooth, tired hearts refreshed, dead hopes stirred with the newness of life. It is the promise of tomorrow at the close of every day, the movement of life in defiance of death, and the assurance that love is sturdier than hate, that right is more confident than wrong, that good is more permanent than evil.]Tonight, we celebrate Christ’s birth in Bethlehem and in our hearts. May we make Jesus’ birth real in our lives by what we say and do this Christmas and always. Amen.