Can I start with a question? Who is looking forward to opening their Christmas presents?
Well, I for one am! I hope I get a new jumper or cardigan, you see since getting ordained I have discovered a real love of knitware; strange but true. Oh, and I also hope I get given some chocolates; my mother normally buys me a jumbo sized box.
The great thing about chocolates is you get to share them (although I do carefully make sure that my favourites are protected!).
But, of course as Christians we believe that the very best present we receive is nothing other than the present of God himself in the person of Jesus. And, this present we should be truly excited by.
The present of Jesus, the Christ child, is utterly unique because it is humanities present. It can never be just my present, because it can only ever be our present. Strangely, unlike my box of chocolates, sharing in the present of Christ doesn’t mean me getting less. The more we share Jesus the bigger and better it gets. Jesus, you see defies the laws of economics, which state that scare resources when used get depleted; once again strange but true.
In the story we have just heard from Luke’s gospel, there was ‘no place for him in the inn.’ At Christmas we are invited to make room for Jesus, and to welcome Jesus, not just the historical Jesus, but the real and living Jesus, and after we have welcomed him we are asked to share him. We are asked to follow the example of the shepherds who when they saw the fragile and vulnerable Jesus lying in his manger ‘made known what had been told them about this child.’
I hope you enjoy today – Brussels and all – but can invite you at various times during the day to pause and to welcome Jesus into the midst of your festivities, to make sure there is room for him in your ‘inn.’ For if you do what you will be receiving, and sharing, is the greatest present ever given.
Rev. Andrew Lightbown