The Feast of the Nativity and First Eucharist of Christmas – The Rev. Leigh Mackintosh

The Feast of the Nativity and First Eucharist of Christmas: December 24, 2017

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

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

A long time ago, God’s Spirit spoke to Mary and to Joseph. God blessed them and called them together to give them a great gift. The gift God gave to Mary and Joseph was a gift that would bring light and life and love to all the world. And that gift was a child, just like one of you!

When the time came for this gift to be born, Mary and Joseph found themselves far away from their home in Nazareth. They had been traveling the long, hard, dangerous road to Bethlehem, to the place where Joseph was born. The place where the famous King David of Israel was born. And little did they know, but this would soon be the place where another great King would be born too!

Mary and Joseph had been walking for a long time, spending many nights camping under the stars or huddled in the houses of strangers. Finally, after so much hardship and hunger they arrived in Bethlehem. And do you know what they found? There was no room for them! Not even at the inn.

So they looked and looked and finally found a stable to lay their heads for the night. And it was here in this manger that Mary and Joseph welcomed this gift of God into the world. And on this night, we too welcome this child of God, the one who was born this day in the city of David. His name is Jesus, but he has other names too. Sometimes we call him Emmanuel, which means God is with us. We know him as Savior and Messiah and Christ our Lord. We call him Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

One day this baby would grow up to be a man. And this man would bring life and light and love to many people. Jesus would grow up to show us the way to love God and welcome God into our lives. He taught us to live as he lived seeing God in all things and loving one another as God loves us.

One day, Jesus would walk a long, hard, dangerous road just like Joseph and Mary. His journey we call the way of the cross. There darkness rises and light to meet it. And the darkness can never overcome the light of God that is born in us. His light is the light that stays with us in every darkness. His light shines and makes the darkness holy — his light breaks through the night and shows us the way to love and live in freedom.

On this holy Christmas night, we remember the light of God that is with us in all things.

I wonder where do you see God? Where do you see light and love and life in this manger?

Who is your favorite person?

I wonder where else we see God? Where do you see God’s light and love and life in this place?

Look at the light in the manger, that light is the same light present with us on the altar. The same light that welcomes each day with the rising of the sun. The same light that shines in the stars at night or the streetlamps.

I wonder where do you see God in the world? Where is God’s light and love and life in you?

This week, I invite you to keep wondering with God. Each day, look for the ways God’s light and love are with you in your life. See God is with us in all things.

Jesus, we pray for these gifts in our daily lives:

To see you more clearly,

To love you more dearly,

To follow you more nearly, day by day.

Amen.