There have been so many articles in newspapers and magazines over the past few weeks about “the real meaning of Christmas” that I wanted to have my say, too. This is the sermon I preached at Riddells Creek and Mount Macedon Uniting Churches on the 20th of December.
I think that this fourth Sunday of Advent is my favourite Sunday, not only in Advent, but in the whole Christmas season. Of course, Christmas Eve, with its sense of tiptoe anticipation, is wonderful. On Christmas Day we celebrate the coming of God as a baby, and there are few things in the world more exciting than the arrival of a baby. But despite all the anticipation and joy of these days we can lose sight of the absolute unlikely wonder of what happened at Christmas. The birth of Jesus can become cute, rather than a radical overturning of everything we thought we knew. The story and the song that we hear today are different. There are many places in the community where we can hear the story of the birth in the stable, see the baby in the manger. But it’s only in churches that we hear Mary singing her song of liberation. It’s the Magnificat, and all that it implies, that makes Christmas Christian. Read more »