The following is a homily I shared at a beautiful Christmas service I co-led at my work, Sholom Home. The other leaders were some brothers and sisters who follow Christ through Catholicism. The resident spiritual 'pastor' Rabbi Bell was also present and shared thoughts, songs and blessings. It was a unique experience.
The readings were from Isaiah 9:2-7, Psalm 96 and Luke 2:1-20.
"Christmas celebrates, rightfully so, with much joy, gathering of family and giving of gifts. As we take a few moments to reflect on this gift of Christ let us never forget the surprising way the gift was given.
An eternal Father bestows his son as a helpless child born to scared parents in a tiny stable. He then sends his mighty messengers to a group of despised shepherds announcing the arrival of the King and his Kingdom. They are told the sign...a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger...WHAT?!!
Have they dreamt, is it an illusion? There is only one way to know. They go stable by stable until they find Joseph, Mary and Jesus. God as a helpless baby. They return changed, praising God. Mary ponders these things in her heart.
Our response must be that of the shepherds-go and see, then glorify and praise God. Our response must also be that of Mary-ponder these things in our hearts. God has come. We are his children through the way of his Son. Today, with joy, let us receive Jesus, the greatest gift.
God became not just a man,
but a fetus.
A child they say will lead us.
This creates quite a fuss,
for those of us who are wise.
Thus we must learn to despise
The pride that is our demise
And we must realize
Humility is the only prize."
Merry Christmas (even though Jesus was not born December 25th or anytime near December. What shepherds would be keeping watch outside in winter?! Nonetheless, God has become one of us to make us one of his. WOW!!!)