December 24, 2016

Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie Isaiah 9:2-7 Titus 2:11-14 John 1:1-14 “Being Lights” The other day I was reading an attempt at a historical account of Jesus’ birth. It was the kind of piece in which the researcher tries to match up the events described in the Gospels with the history of the nations and kings of the era in order to “place” the birth narratives in their historical context. And similar to other scholars, this one estimated that Jesus was likely born in September of the year 5 BCE. So, for centuries, we’ve been celebrating Christmas at the wrong time of year! Oops! Well, it’s not exactly an “oops.” It’s not that anyone actually sat down and figured that Jesus was born in late December before setting our celebrations at this time of year. When the date was decided, I don’t imagine that anyone was particularly worried about determining an accurate birthday for Jesus. The point was to mark his coming into our world and its life-changing, world-transforming significance. You’ve probably heard that the earliest Christmas celebrations were held in conjunction with pagan festivals marking the Winter Solstice. The idea was to provide Christians with a festive celebration rooted in the faith so that they wouldn’t be tempted to join in the fun and frivolity of the pagan parties. Contemporary Christmas celebrations show marks of those other religious influences… Christmas trees covered with lights, Christmas wreaths, Yule logs, and more. The date for the celebration of Christmas may … Read more »

December 24, 2009

Sermon by the Rev. Amanda Currie Isaiah 9:2-7 Titus 2:11-14 Gwen: Well, it’s Christmas Eve tonight, and just like every year, we’re celebrating… blah, blah, blah… Jesus was born… blah, blah, blah… I’m sure you’ve all heard the story a million times before. Maybe we should just skip to the Christmas prayers so we can get out of here. Amanda: Um, Gwen, is something wrong? Don’t you want to preach about the wonder of Jesus’ birth into our world? Gwen: I don’t know, Amanda… what would I say? We’ve all heard the story before about how Jesus was born, and the angels sang, and the shepherds came all excited to visit the baby. Babies are nice and all… but how can we keep getting excited about a baby that was born more than 2000 years ago? Amanda: Don’t you think Jesus’ birth has relevance for us today? Gwen: I can see how Jesus’ birth would have been exciting back then. I mean, Jesus came into a time and place when people really needed his help. His own people, the Jews, were living under Roman rule and things were really tough for them. The pax Romana was supposed to be good for everyone in the Empire, but the reality was that it was only good for the rich and the elite, and it required everyone to give allegiance to and even to worship the Emperor. The Jews, who believed in one God only had a lot of trouble with this kind … Read more »