Saturday, December 29, 2007
Christmas Sermon: Midnight is When the Day Begins.
“Midnight is When the Day Begins”
Luke 2:1-20; John 1:1-14
December 24, 2007
Lake Harriet Christian Church
“Midnight is When the Day Begins.”
That is the refrain of a song called “Lemon” from the Irish rock group U2. As the lead singer, Bono sings in falsetto, the Edge, the group's lead guitarist sings this line over and over.
What does U2 have to do with the Christmas story? Well, everything. We are gathered here tonight to celebrate the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ in the form of a tiny, helpless baby. In a few minutes, we will do something that we always do as Disciples: have communion, which we remember the death of Christ for our salvation. This is an odd juxstaposition, isn't it? On the one hand, we are celebrating the birth of Christ, and on the other hand, we remember his death. It's interesting in this season where we are supposed to be happy, that we are reminded of such a downer.
Christmas is about light. We read about light in Luke's version of Christmas. We have just passed the winter solstice, which is another time we remember that it's getting lighter outside. All of this reminded me of another Christmas story, one that's doesn't seem like one at first blush. It comes from the first chapter of John. In verse 5, it talks about the light shining in the darkness and not be overcome by the darkness. In verse 14, it talks about the word becoming flesh and dwelling among us. God came into this world as a baby to bring salvation to all of creation. God became human, became flesh and bone- the word became incarnate. This being, fully God, yet fully human, lived a life amongst other humans and then died like other humans.
What this means is that God entered into our world, fully embracing all of its faults and weaknesses. He was born in poverty and died a criminal. But because he entered our life, entered our joys and hopes, all of creation has changed. The birth and the death are linked together, the two events helped bring our salvation our healing.
But I still didn't get to that U2 lyric, did I? Midnight is when the day begins.
Midnight, the darkest of night, is also when the day-any day officially begins. Yes, there is darkness, but light is breaking forth.
Christ is our light that shines in the darkness. No matter what the darkness is: whether it's losing a job, or dealing with an ailing parent, or living under an oppressive regime, it can't last against the growing light of Christ. And even if you kill that light, it will only grow stronger, because not even death can stop this light.
Hope is what brings birth and death together. The hope that we are saved, and being saved from the darkness that fills our lives all the time.
Midnight is when the day begins. Thanks be to God. Amen.