The Last Place to Find Christ-Christmas Eve Service

Grace and Peace to you, beloved

On this night of nights,

When Life itself was transformed

And God, whom we thought was hidden

Revealed Godself

In the form,

Of a babe,

Christ, the Lord

Amen.

(pause)

There are places in this world,

Where people are huddled,

Against bombed out buildings

And rubble strewn streets

Waiting for that transformative Hope

(pause)

There are people,

Huddled in the darkness,

Because it is the only place

That they can come

To lament

To pray

To comfort one another

Waiting,

Still waiting

For a glimmer of that

Transformative LIGHT

Piercing the emptiness of this world

(pause)

We are too,

Gathered in the darkness

Waiting for that transformative Birth

This night,

(pause)

That night

When Jesus Christ was born

Born where,

The people needed Him most!

Not in spectacular marble halls,

Laid in the finest linen

Surrounded by splendor,

Warmth

Prestige

And Majesty

Adored in exclusion

By a royal elite

But,

Jesus was born,

In the midst

Of the wilderness

Isolated,

Among the downtrodden

Oppressed people

Out in the indifference

Beyond city gates

Jesus Christ was born,

Where the people needed to hear

To SEE

The Good News!

(pause)

“In that region there were shepherds

living in the fields,

keeping watch over their flock by night”

(pause)

We,

As people of faith,

Have glossed over this verse,

Imagining these shepherds

Blissfully

Admiring the beauty of the moon,

The companionship and the comradery of one another,

And a seemingly peaceful night.

And yes,

There is nothing wrong,

With immersing ourselves in the familiar

Spending this night of nights,

Comforted by carols,

Hymns,

Pausing for reflection

Among the candles

Allowing the Word of God

To speak a Word to us,

Of that transformative HOPE

That is in the Bread and the Wine,

The Body and Blood,

Of Jesus Christ,

This Good News

(pause)

But for a moment,

This night

As we are waiting,

We dig deeper,

Is it interesting to know,

That being a shepherd,

Among these ancient societies

Was not a noble profession?

In fact,

Being a shepherd,

Amounted to the same as perhaps

A migrant worker is seen today:

Dead end,

Poor position

Stuck at the bottom

Gathering,

Waiting,

Still waiting

for

A sign

Of

HOPE

That

The Creator God had not forgotten them,

And that God stands with them,

Through their trials,

Tribulations

While taking jobs

That citizens despised

Jobs that they consider beneath them,

Jobs that although vital

To how the wider community moves

Jobs that have ugly labels associated with them,

Jobs that only lowlifes

Liars,

Thieves

Could muster.

These same labels were associated with the word

Shephard,

(pause)

Yet,

How curious

That those who were considered

The working poor,

Were despised

For taking these “dead-end” jobs,

Because for some reason,

The well-ordered society,

Didn’t think they

Were deserving

Of a living wage?

(pause)

Shepherds were lumped in along

With the tax collectors,

With people considered to be sinners,

Were considered to be unclean

They didn’t keep the Sabbath holy,

Although their work almost was from sunrise,

To beyond sunset

It is perplexing to say in the least

How these shepherds were treated

Even as their work,

Were essential

To this

Ancient economy

And so,

The shepherds gathered,

In the stillness

Obscured from those

Who cast judgement

Discounting their humanity

Gathering to discuss

The inequality heaped upon them by the self-righteous

A way of liberation for their lives

And suddenly,

HOPE!

The Good News doesn’t come to

The religious

The self-righteous

But to the outsider

The forgotten

The desperate

God comes to where God is needed the MOST

In the midst of their wilderness

In the midst of our wilderness

In those painful places,

Where we must admit,

As a broken people

We too, are still waiting

For HOPE

For the coming

Of the Kingdom

Of God!

(pause)

And this,

Is that Good News!

“Do not be afraid; for see—

I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people”

ALL the people,

The common folk,

The Gentiles

The poor

The lepers

The migrants

The undocumented

The peoples of Aleppo

Of Palestine

Of Crimea

Of peoples living in downtrodden neighborhoods,

In Englewood

And Pilsen

And Dixmoor,

Robbins

And

Harvey

Peoples who have been waiting for HOPE

For over 5 centuries

To finally have their humanity acknowledged

Affirmed

Peoples who have been waiting,

For their lands,

Their ways

Their sacredness

To be freed

Back into their hands

(pause)

Yes,

The Good News is indeed for all

It is joy to those who suffer

And yes,

We are reminded,

That the Good News places those

Who are insistent on suppressing

Oppressing

That the Good News of Jesus Christ

Brings them into a space of uncomfortableness

If they do not heed the call,

To repent

(pause)

“to you is born this day

in the city of David a Savior,

who is the Messiah,

the Lord”

A SAVIOR!

The Good News for us, beloved

Is that Jesus Christ,

Is indeed

OUR SAVIOR

THE SAVIOR

Jesus was born,

To FREE US

From Bondage!

Bondage to Sin

Bondage from oppression

And evil

That binds us to this world

(pause)

Salvation is merely not just a ticket

To heaven,

Salvation means,

LIBERATION

Jesus Christ is

LIBERATION

Therefore even as we struggle

Daily,

Because of this night,

Our lives are forever,

FREE

So go proclaim this Good News!

Christ is BORN!

Thanks Be to God.

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