I am going to begin this season of advent with the birth of Jesus. I know people will say the turkey is not out of the refrigerator, there is still one scoop of Sweet Potatoes in the big casserole dish. But I am hoping that before the house is fully decorated and the cool Christmas commercials become part of life, we remember what this is all about.
I want to jog your memory and help us to remember what this is all about. Remember Charlie Brown he went out to get a Christmas Tree and all he got was the puniest tree on the lot. In the midst of his frustration, he yelled out, “Does anybody remember what Christmas is all about?” Then comes Linus and he says, “I know what it is all about.”
Here is what he said, (Play Charlie Brown Linus Monologue)
Christmas is about worship, not toys, kids, family, trees, or lights.
This week in Mumbai interrupted Thanksgiving a bit. It is a long ways away, but it was a reminder that this promise that Linus spoke of, that the Angels delivered that there would peace and goodwill given to all people. Not everybody wants it. Some will kill to make it not be realized, so we worship as a prophetic statement. Peace and Goodwill to all.
There is this economy and the concerns that it brings. It was a conversation around the kitchen table at my parent’s house. How about yours? It can make us forget what this is all about.
Then Black Friday at 3:30 AM people lined up for stuff. This is the beginning of the Christmas season for the cult of consumerism. I have heard that religion is dangerous, but a guy got killed for opening a door for stuff. Consumerism is deadly as well. People shot each other at the temples of consumerism.
With all this stuff going on, I want to quit talking about wall street. Quit talking about main street. I want to talk about the alley where there is this stable and in the stable is a feed trough. There in that feed trough/ a manger is Jesus.
In comes these Shepherds. They have a vision of the heavens opening up. The angels are coming down and they go to Bethlehem to see what it is all about. They meet Jesus, a baby. They meet God in flesh. What do they do? They praise God, they worship, they let loose as Eugene Peterson writes in the Message.
We meet Jesus by worship. When Jesus came into the world in a manger in Bethlehem, the shepherds bowed and worshipped. They came and worshipped Jesus.
This year, I want you to experience worship. I want us to sing songs of worship. Those great carols and hymns of Christmas.
Now don’t you get a little exicited when we sing Angles we have heard on High.
GL…..OR…..IA. We feel like opera singers. We may not sound it, but we sing it loud and proud. It sounds good. It is a song where we let loose. We will sing it a couple of times and this is your song where I want you to let loose in worship. Sing it loud.
We begin with angel choirs singing.
If we believe,
O Come, O Come Emmanuel….that God has come to free us
Come Thou Long Expected Jesus…if the world is waiting.
Then we need to worship.
To worship today in the midst of Mumbai, the economy, and the chaos about us is prophetic statement. We speak of Hope, Peace, Joy, Love and Light and the world is not ready for it. We speak these words into the darkness and they are true.
We sing of our longings and we open up a table where the world is invited to come to meet Jesus.
These are songs where we want Jesus to come into the world. They speak of Emmanuel,
God with us. God with us.
Not God away from us. God on the mountain. God in the swamp. God upon the ocean. God in the earth. God in the tree. God up in heaven. God with us. Emmanuel.
Do you get how profound that is.
The world will say I got myself. I will run to the back of the store to get the door buster, because nobody will watch my back. I will snatch it away from you if you are not strong enough to hold it. I need to get it all, because that is all I got.. The gospel is God is with you. God is with us. If God is with us who can be against us. We are not alone in a shopping mall with stuff. We are at home with God in Jesus.
Do you get that this message is Joy to the World. The savior reigns.
Violence in Mumbai, terror reigns. No, the songs we sing, the way we worship is a prophetic statement the Savior reigns.
Do you believe it all.?
This is the Sunday of hope. If we are going to hope, then we are going to hope for a change in the world. The world is not going to be made better with our going out and consuming together.
The world as we know it has fallen apart, the systems and superstructures have exploded.
This is a time for Jesus Christ to come into the world.
For God to be experienced again for the first time.
How do we begin to first experience God in worship.
In song, in words and stories of faith, and in the table where all are invited.
We pray and sing. Alleluia and Amen.