The Second Sunday of Christmas
We sing along/listen to:
Almighty God, in the birth of your Son you have poured on us the new light of your incarnate Word, and shown us the fullness of your love: help us to walk in his light and dwell in his love that we may know the fullness of his joy; who is alive and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
We sing along/listen to:
‘God destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleased of God’s will’.
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
At the beginning of a new year you often see on the television, read online and hear on the radio accounts of the past year, known as a year in review. And whilst most of us will want to forget 2020 pretty quickly, it will, no doubt, be etched on our minds for ever. One such looking back, was undertaken by Google, who created a video with their year in review. The theme of the video, was of course, with it being Google, all about searching. It said this:
The most human trait is to want to know why? In a year that tested everyone around the world, why was searched more than ever…
Why can’t I sleep?
Why are flights cancelled?
Why is it called Covid-19?
Why am I so tired?
Why is toilet paper sold out?
Why are people protesting?
Why is empathy important?
Why is democracy important?
The video explained that not every question has an easy answer; showing pictures of empty chairs at tables, of hospitals full to bursting, of children looking through the window at their grandparents holding up ‘I love you’ drawings, and of nurses and doctors in full PPE hugging their children.
Google suggest, that whilst we didn’t get all the answers, we kept asking, some questions resulted in joy; some excitement. Some questions made us cry. Concluding with: until we get every answer, we’re still searching….
What is the questions that we ask today? What are the questions posed to us by this season of Christmas, which we celebrate until 10th January?
The readings provide us with three:
Why did the Word become flesh and dwell amongst us?
Why did God take the chance on us?
Why did God come into darkness?
Today’s collect gives us the answers to each.
Why did the Word become flesh and dwell amongst us? The answer: to show us the fullness of your love.
Why did God take a chance on us? So that we may know the fullness of his joy.
Why did God come into darkness? So that we can walk in his light.
In many ways, that is all that needs to be said.
After the joy and celebration of the Nativity, of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, we are given the timely reminder of the answer to those questions as the new year begins. The three questions, properly understood, can be boiled down to one: why did Jesus come?
He came, and he comes, to show us the love of God.
That is the message of the gospel: the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us.
That is the message of our second reading from Ephesians: that, in the fullness of time, all things will be gathered up in Christ.
That is the message of the Psalm: he sends out his command to the earth, and his word runs very swiftly.
That is the message of the first reading from Jeremiah: save O Lord your people.
God comes to us, quite simply to save us. He comes to show us the Father’s love. He comes, as the child of God, to make us, children of the same heavenly Father.
God became man in Jesus Christ, that first Christmas, he, became ‘flesh’ exactly like you and me. So that the suffering that we suffer, God would know and heal.
That that life which we live, so often in lived in darkness, might be bathed with the glory of his light.
That the joy so often absent from our lives, may be made complete not in the passing things of this world, but in the eternal changelessness of God.
We know after the year we’ve had, that love has been tested, that light has been in short supply, that joy has been far from prevalent. The world has crumbled all around us; and yet we are reminded this Christmastide, perhaps more than ever before, of what Christmas is truly all about, that God is Emmanuel; he is with us – he is not distant, but with us, as one of us. One us, sharing the same flesh, sharing the same blood, sharing the same life, sharing the same death. Why? He comes out of love. He comes because he is love. He comes to bestow that love. He comes so that we might live that love, the love between him and the Father, made complete by the joy of the Holy Spirit.
He came and he comes not only to show the love of God, to extend to us that love, but more, in showing, he invites us to become God’s children, God offers us adoption as children through his Son – God sends his Son on a mission, a mission to complete the adoption of all people. He offers adoption as his children to those who know him already, that that relationship may continue, he offers adoption to those who are seeking the love of a Father, he offers adoption to those who have scarcely even considered the possibility. All are given the possibility to experience that love – that light – and that joy.
Paul’s letter to the Ephesians echoes our gospel reading today. Jesus is Blessed – he is God – and it if we are adopted as his children we can share in that blessedness, the very relationship between Father, Son and Holy Spirit. That is what is on offer today. The question, why? Why did God come? He came down to earth, so that we might go up to heaven.
He comes down, as Jeremiah tells us, to gather his people tenderly, like a Shepherd gathers his flock. You and me, all people. He comes to save us. To make us his children, to give us light instead of darkness and to bring us joy in despair.
What is required of us? One thing and one thing alone. Faith. ‘Where there is faith, in him, God’s mission is accomplished’. Where there is faith, we are adopted as God’s children, we will receive grace upon grace.
As Google reminds us, not every question has an easy answer, but this one does. To those who are searching, to those who have found, to those who long for life, light and joy. Hear those words again: ‘the Word became flesh and dwelt among us’ to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God’.
May we respond to the invitation of adoption: ‘Blessed be the God an Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing’.
Have faith in him, and let him, answer your question.
All praise to you, almighty God and heavenly King, who sent your Son into the world to take our nature upon him and to be born of a pure virgin: grant that, as we are born again in him, so may he continually dwell in us and reign on earth as he reigns in heaven, now and for ever. Amen.
We sing along/listen to: