How did I get roped into this? Giving the address at the annual Carol Service in my Methodist Circuit? I must be crazy. Much moreso when we’re told that the person organising doesn’t want a sermon. I have two minutes.
It’s being delivered tonight. I’m so nervous about it, it’s unreal. So I’ve scripted the whole thing, to cut down on the waffle and keep me on track. Here it is, in case you’re wondering.
Are you ready for Christmas?
There’s nothing like Christmas morning, when you have small children in the house. Weeks of preparation and anticipation, and then it’s finally here. That’s how the Jews felt about their Messiah. Years of being told that God was sending someone to save them.
When he got here, Jesus arrived as a baby. He took a good 30 years to learn about being one of us, to be with us and to face what we face. Life, death, taxes, jealousy, hate, love: they’re all things he understood and talked about.
Because the biggest thing any of us needs saving from is ourselves: the wrongs we do, the good things we don’t, and all of the ways we hurt ourselves and those around us. The Jews were and are waiting for a hero to come and set them free. But free from themselves and their own foolishness and failures?
No-one could ride into town with a big sword and a crown and fix all that. He had to be with us; one of us. That’s why we call him Immanuel. The name means “God with us”.
So we celebrate that Jesus came to us, to walk in our shoes and give himself up for us, to set us free. What greater gift could you receive this Christmastime?