(Originally preached at Alger First UMC, Christmas Eve 2015)
On this night, the Divine Creator of the Universe, the One who made the stars shine, who set all the planets in their orbits, who formed them all into orderly Solar Systems and star clusters and galaxies and the universe, the Almighty Creating God who chose this one planet out of absolutely countless others on which to tell God’s story, the transcendent God who breathed into the darkness and brought about light, water, land, dirt, trees, grass, fish, mammals, reptiles, dinosaurs, elephants, the Triune God who created human life out of dirt and mud, out of a man’s own rib, the God who has never left the Creation behind even when we failed to do the one job God gave us-to simply obey him, the God who still remains so transcendent and other that to say anything about God in human words is to almost do God a disservice because none of our words could ever hope to come close to describing this dramatically, eternal Other God who exists on a whole different plane of reality, who exists outside of time; on this night, this all-holy, all-powerful, all-transcendent, all-mysterious, all-knowing, all-seeing, everlasting, everywhere God became human.
The Eternal, Divine Word who was with God in the beginning and, in fact, was one with God, became human. That’s the beauty of this season that starts today. God the all-powerful, unknowable, eternal, everlasting became a limited, weak, fragile human baby. This God walked our dirt, breathed our air, ate our food, drank our water, cried our tears, spoke our words, wore our skin and was here, on this same earth as we are.
The mystery of this season is what makes it beautiful. At Christmas, we remember the God that exists outside of time and space, the God that exists in eternity, came to dwell and make God’s home within time. This was not merely God coming down from some heaven imagined to be up in the sky somewhere. This was God crossing from a whole different plane of existence into our world. At a distinct, concrete point in the history of the world, God came down to earth in the form of a human baby. The one who is able to bring life up from the dust of the earth as well as destroy all life on earth becomes a vulnerable, weak baby. Emmanuel, God with us, that’s the Grand Mystery we remember today and tomorrow and this season.
Emmanuel, God with us. Isn’t this what we long for? A God who is with us and shares our suffering and pain? It is the longing for Emmanuel, God with us, that drives this season. Because we all want to know God and be known by God.
And isn’t that the real reason that God came down? John 1:18 says “No one has ever seen God. God the only Son, who is at the Father’s side, has made God known.” At Christmas, we remember that now, we can know God. You can know God and know that you are known by God. In Jesus, God who walked our dirt and breathed our air, you can know the God who created everything and continues to create and recreate you and everyone and everything. You can know God. This is an amazing truth that should change your life. If you can know God, then you can know your Creator, and if you can know your Creator, you can know for what purpose you were created. You can live the life you were created to live. The searching can be over and the finding can begin.
This Christmas, as in all Christmases, you’re invited to discover anew the God who knows you to your innermost core. You’re invited to love again the God who loves you with a love that defies all explanation, a love that reaches from the eternity that exists beyond the stars to right where you are right now. And in this, may you find the true purpose for your life. May you find true love that makes the world brighter and life meaningful. May you never forget that this God knows you to your innermost core, this God loves you for your humanness and despite your humanness, and that this God has a dream for you that goes beyond your wildest dreams.