For Unto You a Child Is Born
January 3, 2018
December 5, 2017
Wedding Banquet Gone Wrong
A Hot Button Issue
70 Times 7
But I Do Know This God
October 8, 2017
You Can Run...
May 9, 2016
In Her Name
March 25, 2016
A New Direction
March 18, 2016
Whose Wife Will the Woman Be in Heaven?
March 15, 2015
Where Isn't Jesus Tonight? A Christmas Eve Homily
December 25, 2014
Is That Any Way to Treat a Friend? Moses & God
March 31, 2015
The Rev. Tricia Leonard-Pasley
`For unto you a child is born!’
Has this ever happened to you?
It happened to me 5 times! And, it has happened to lots of women,
through out the centuries, under all sorts of circumstances,
in every part of the globe.
If you are lucky, `the news’ that a child is on its way is something you’ve hoped for, planned even, and welcome with joy.
If, you are lucky, you, are surrounded by people,
who, are equally excited by this extraordinary news,
and ready to help in any way they can.
And, of course, if you are truly fortunate, you are living now,
in the first world, and have access to excellent medical care,
and plenty of options for pain relief.
But, even when you have all of these things –
the reality of childbirth, is still a pretty overwhelming prospect.
Because, when it comes right down to it –
you know that your `YES’ will mean that at some point,
someone, will put a tiny, completely helpless real-live human being,
into your inexperienced arms,
and say; good luck, and then you pray you won’t kill it
in the first 48 hours.
The birth of my first child was just such a joyful `unto you’ moment.
It was the baby we had longed for, and planned for, to be sure.
But nothing, absolutely nothing prepared me for the reality of his actual arrival.
I remember the very first hour of his life, like it was yesterday.
It was still dark outside but through my hospital window
I could see the sun trying to lift its head,
as if it too, wanted to greet my new child.
My room had grown quiet, the excitement of giving birth was now over,
and the doctor had moved on, no doubt to another laboring mother.
My husband went home to take a much needed nap,
and I was watching the nurse wrap my child up like
a little burrito in a pink and blue stripped blanket.
Then, she ever so gently, put him in my arms and said;
`I will leave you two to get acquainted.’
I took one look at him, his mop of beautiful auburn hair,
his heart shaped mouth,
and10 perfect fingers, and thought;
`Don’t leave! Come back,
somebody, come back! I don’t know what to do with him!
I have always wondered if Mary ever had a moment like that,
or, was there to much going with all of those angels, shepherds and wise men traipsing in and out of her maternity stall.
I wonder if Mary felt totally unprepared for this new thing
that she had so eagerly said yes to, just a few months before?
Did she worry about raising this child,
a special child, in such a harsh world?
And, when Jesus’ crying would not stop,
did she ever shout for Gabriel;` to get back here!!!’
I love that only Luke’s Christmas story brings us into a stable,
to the side of Jesus’ mother, and into Mary’s heart.
I want to think that Luke shows us Jesus in his mother’s arms because he had some sense of how a baby can reorganize everything.
I don’t mean to suggest that we need to give birth
or raise babies to be changed.
Consider the baby as metaphor.
The baby’s arrival adjusts habits, attitudes, and feelings.
The baby is helpless, yet powerful.
The baby is challenging, yet winsome.
We rearrange our schedules, our homes,
and our lives to make space for the baby.
In time, I learned not to be afraid of my new son.
He didn’t seem to notice the million mistakes I made,
and he was always patient with me,
even when I put him in his snow suite upside down,
or, put his car seat in backwards.
And, I was patient with him as well, like when he put his food in his hair,
or, wrote on the walls with permanent marker.
And, in time we became something truly amazing,
we became a family.
And, that is the way it always is when a new life is `given unto us’,
it, brings out strengths in us that we didn’t know we had.
And, a fierce kind of love we might not of thought we were capable of.
The whole world suddenly becomes our personal concern
– because, now, we have real skin in the game.
And, I think, this is the meaning of tonight.
2,000 years ago God sent his own child unto us,
to live and love, hurt, and even die like one of us,
so that we might know, once and for all,
that for God, our well being is PERSONAL.
He could have stayed in the heavens.
He could have sent a celestial banner that read:
`Fly straight, or else, says the Lord!’
But he chose instead, to send us a child
So that we might know what fierce love really feels like.
This is the eternal good news that Christmas brings;
you are loved, truly, deeply and personally by God.
May this identity give you strength,
May it fill you with a fierce kind of love for others,
particularly the poor and the vulnerable,
and may the knowledge that you and God are family
bring you joy beyond your wildest dreams.
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