A Christmas Message
December 20, 2018
The Rt. Rev. Douglas J. Fisher
The prophet Isaiah says: Unto us a child is born. Unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder, his name shall be called wonderful councilor, mighty God, the Everlasting, the Prince of Peace.
Mighty God, prince of peace. But first a little baby. Here’s a story from our Jewish brothers and sisters about the power of a little baby. The story is about Jewish families fleeing Nazi Germany. After walking many miles, but still far from safety, an elderly man stops and sits down. He is so tired. Others urge him to get up and keep on going but he says “no, I’m too tired. I can’t.” His friends say “but if you stay here, surely the Nazis will come and kill you.” He replies “I know. But I can’t go any further. Go and leave me here. Save yourselves.”
His friends leave him in sadness. But as they do a young woman with a baby returns to the old man. She puts the baby in his lap and leaves! He shouts “hey, what are you doing? Save this baby!” When he realizes the young mother is not turning back, the old man gets up, holding the baby, and continues the journey. The little baby saves the old man as the old man takes responsibility for the little baby.
Jesus comes into the world as a little baby so that WE will be saved. We will be called out to new life. We will be given a new hope. This all powerful, mighty God enters the world vulnerable to invite us into a new way of being.
Betsy and I know the transforming power of babies first hand. They are so adorable, and so needy, and so dependent. And in meeting their needs we rediscover the power of love.
And the grown up Jesus will continue the theme. In Matthew 25 he tells us where we will see him again. In the poor, the sick, the hungry, the imprisoned. And what we do about that will be what saves us. In Jesus, God becomes vulnerable so we might rise into new life. In the words of Michael Curry “we are the Jesus Movement that is out to change the world from the nightmare it is for so many, into the dream God has for it.”
You see, the baby Jesus gives us hope because the vulnerable baby, who is also the mighty God, has the power to transform us.
You might think I should end this Christmas message with a Christmas prayer. Or a quote from one of those awesome hymns we will sing on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. But instead I will end with a prayer we say on Easter. And I invite you to think of that elderly Jewish man holding the baby as they escaped tyranny.
O God of unchangeable power and eternal light. Let the whole world see and know that things which were being cast down are being raised up. And things which had grown old are being made new. And all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.