Christmas Eve – The Rev. Leigh Mackintosh

The Rev. Leigh Mackintosh

The Rev. Leigh Mackintosh

The Feast of the Nativity – December 24, 2015, 5:00 pm

Isaiah 9:2-7 | Titus 2:11-14 | Luke 2:1-20 | Psalm 96

Preacher: The Rev. Leigh Mackintosh, Associate Rector of St. Michael’s Church

Merry Christmas and welcome to tonight’s BBC radio broadcast. That’s beautiful baby at Christmas broadcast brought to you this evening from St. Michael’s Episcopal Church in New York City. And tonight we have as our very special guest, the Word made flesh himself, Jesus Christ.

Before we tell the dramatic saga of our baby Savior’s story, let me introduce you to a few of our key players.

Tonight’s sound effects will be provided by the children and youth of St. Michael’s and all of you listeners out there tuning in who feel inspired to join along.

And just yesterday, word has it that the Spirit of John…Williams came upon John…Cantrell our organist and choirmaster inspiring the soundtrack to our story.
Our story begins… A long time ago, in a town, far far away, a new hope, our only hope was coming into the world.

Now at that time, all the world was at peace. Or so it would seem.

But trouble and unrest were brewing beneath the Empire’s fragile façade of tranquility.
Emperor Augustus chose to strike back with a new strategy— taxes for the whole world. The tax of Pax Romana—the price of peace to be paid by everyone.

But the cries of the suffering, the freedom longed for by a conquered people
could not remain silenced forever.

The smoldering embers of a rebellion were quietly burning  beneath the dark shadow cast by the Emperor and his mighty army; the spark of revenge and holy righteousness was in the air threatening to set ablaze the Emperor’s promises of order and peace for all the world.

On this night, a new hope, our only hope was coming into the world.

In a small remote corner of the Empire—in a region called Judea, in the little town known as Bethlehem the force of God had awakened.

The chosen one, the Messiah was being born in a manger.

He was the one foretold to us in the prophecy—the one that shall be named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Our new hope…the Messiah, the chosen one born of Mary had come to save us all from sin and death and all the powers of the dark side.

And his name is…Jesus.

And what is so amazing, so incredible, so divine about this particular night is that the baby born in the manger was in fact the Son of God.

And in him was the sacred energy that creates all living things. In him was the spiritual force that surrounds us and penetrates us. That binds the galaxy together.
In him was the wisdom to bring hope, salvation, joy and peace to all the world.
And this baby born in a manger would one day grow up to proclaim good news of great joy to all people. He would preach to us about another kingdom, a kingdom greater than that of the Emperor. (moo haha)

He would speak to us of God’s kingdom where peace reigned over all people.
God’s reign, God’s peace is unlike any other. It is not won by war, or bought by taxes,
or imposed upon people by physical force or fear. God’s peace is born of grace—the gift of God’s own self to us. Such grace, such peace is given to us on this night in the manger
and offered to us on the cross.
God’s peace is a gift—one we cannot create or win or conquer or earn ourselves—
it is a gift that must be received with love and gratitude—just like how we receive our presents under the Christmas tree—just like how we welcome a newborn baby into our family—just like accepting an invitation to join a friend for dinner.

God’s peace is a gift—and we have the power to receive this gift present in Jesus.

For the force of God is strong in God’s family. God the Father has it. Jesus, God’s Son has it. The Holy Spirit has it. Mary and Joseph have it. You have this power too.

You have the power to be signs of God’s kingdom—to bear God’s hope and peace and joy to the world. Amen.