Following is my ‘first run’ at a Christmas sermon.
May you also hear the ‘rustle of angels’ wings’ this year.
And may you never be the same.
Blessed Christmas to you and those you love and those you serve,
Have you heard the rustle of angels’ wings this night?
That whisper of sound that speaks the certain truth that heaven is about to meet earth once more?
The barely heard presence which points to the wonder that where you stand this very hour is holy ground?
For if God could come to a stable?
If Mary’s first born would find his first cradle in a place meant to feed the animals?
If angels could direct shepherds to that very place that night so long ago?
How about now?
Can you hear the rustle of angels’ wings this night?
Can you hold your breath, hold yourself still enough for just long enough to sense this promise of something more?
For this is so.
This happened once, so long ago.
To Mary and Joseph
sung to and about by a host of angels
witnessed by shepherds
and a scattering of animals who made room for the holy child that night.
And yet the promise is that as Christ came, Christ still comes.
The child will come again.
In the most vulnerable one you will meet in the hours to come.
In the neighbor, the friend the beloved one who grieves.
In the teenager working the drive through tomorrow as you swing through for a cup of something hot on your way to Christmas dinner.
In the one who comes in when all are gone and cleans the hotel room, the corridor, who mops the floors one last time this very night.
In the family, in the countless families who in spite of a world on its knees tonight, still go to bed hungry…
In the one whose bed is at the county jail or in a prison cell down state tonight…
In the refugee at the border or right down the street… driven into our neighborhood by the sort of terror we cannot begin to imagine. The one whose whole life story is marked and bordered by war…
In the one who walks the streets, day after day, night after night — sleeping in places we do not know and can hardly imagine…
Do you hear the rustle of angels’ wings pointing us to places we have never bothered to look before? Never thought to pause beside at any moment before this one?
“Do not be afraid,” the angel sings… “I bring you good news of great joy. To you is born this day in the city of David, in Bethlehem, (in Malta, in Cortland, in DeKalb,) a savior. A savior who is Christ the Lord.”
For heaven still meets earth … whenever we hear the rustle of angels’ wings and turn our heads to see who and what we have never seen before.
Indeed, may we know the wonder of God coming yet again.
Oh, may you hear the rustle of angels’ wings this holy night.
And may that wondrous sound guide you to Bethlehem as well.
That you might, too, kneel at the manger.
And a cow.
And some sheep and a donkey who has never seen the likes of this before
And a sparrow who has landed on the edge of that feeding trough for just a moment to rest, perhaps called to this moment by the wonder of the sound of those angels’ wings as well.
May you hear the rustle of angels’ wings tonight.
And once your head and heart are turned to see what you never thought to see before,
May you never see the world in the same way again…
Indeed, may you always see the birth of Jesus in all those unlikely places and unexpected people.
May you know the truth
and may you be changed by the truth…
that heaven still comes to earth.
All the time.