SERMON for Christmas Day

SERMON for Christmas Day

A sermon preached at St. Mary’s, Iffley by Graham Low on 25th December 2023

In the street

People rushing

No longer queuing, all concern for others lost

Frantically seeking that last present

Thoughtlessly passing the lively carol singers in Bonn Square

Not even noticing the young mother from Syria in Cornmarket begging to feed her child and herself

And we wonder – what is Christmas all about?

In the world

Children crying at the sound of air-raid sirens in Gaza

People looking up to the sky,

Not fearing angel voices but the sound of drones and jets and bombs in Ukraine.

Parents wondering not at good tidings

But wondering if their daughters and sons will come home again from bomber cockpits or fighting in snow-covered fields

And we wonder – what is Christmas about?

In the corridors of power we find:

Corruption and lies

Politics and partisanship

Greed and self-seeking

Absence of vision for the common good

Bitterness and anger

And we wonder – what is Christmas all about?

In the lives of children

There is fear of the world they understand we are passing on to them

We see that children are seduced and manipulated by the world they relate to on their screens, rather than being shaped directly by human love and community

They outrageously endure hunger, disease and homelessness.

And we wonder – what does Christmas mean?

And we have just heard Luke telling the story of Bethlehem and how so many are busy coping with social and political movement and upheaval that few will hear the voices of angels. In the midst of this, Jesus is born, homeless. He will be a refugee, depending on others for shelter and survival. And we remember Herod. We are reminded that lies used as weapons of power, oppression, and the death of innocents are part of this story. This is a story which we have often sanitized into utter insignificance. Indeed, it is a story which more and more people have never known. 

This was yesterday’s news.

Here is today’s news:

In this world of selfishness and sin,

Of politics and pain,

Christ was born.

For this world he died on a cross

And was raised.

God is with us now:

In this world we have hope

In this darkness we have inextinguishable light

We are given a love which cannot die

We are given hope of eternal life.

Glory to God!