Christmas Eve 2012c: He comes this night

“He comes this night”

 “Come, Lord Jesus!” has been our Advent prayer.  Come, Lord Jesus.  Tonight we gather to proclaim that our Lord has, indeed, come to us.  It is a mystery to us …

God did not use magic – POUF! – here is your king.  No black cape, no sleight of hand, but mystery nonetheless.  Here is your king, in a stable.

There were no armies on hand, neither swords nor battalions to keep the common people away.  No grandiose battle strategies or units flanking the sides … of a manger.

Who could approach a Savior dressed in royalty, as a King?  We would tremble at his feet.  Who could approach a Savior surrounded by armies and weapons; we would fight and kill, or flee in fear.

We very often say – and it is true – that Jesus meets us exactly where we are.  God seeks us.  Sometimes, oftentimes, my dear friends, we must also seek God, and look for Jesus in the most unlikely of places.  When we feel unworthy to meet Him, baby Jesus is there, in a place more humble than we could imagine, in a place where our dirty feet and our dirty clothes and our worst fears are not as bad as the conditions in the stable.  We fear going to the birthing suite; Jesus is out back in the barn.  Thank God.  When we feel as if our life is one big battle, baby Jesus is there to interrupt the war, to show us a crude stable that enfolds even our weary hearts.  Thank God.  When the darkest of night encroaches upon our very soul, the prince of peace and light and power is with us in that place.  Thank you, Lord Jesus.

Tonight is a mystery with the most wonderful of surprises.  Our Lord is here.  Our Lord is with us.  It was a brave thing to do, to come to church tonight.  We faced weather, or escaped boredom, or were dragged here by some voice – Mom’s or a whisper from God.  However we came to this place, we were called by Jesus.  We answered some call to seek the Christ child, to meet Him on this holy night.  Welcome to the wonder of the night.  Welcome to a life in which we meet Jesus everywhere, but most especially tonight, in an unlikely place.  He is in a manger.  He is here.

We remember that Jesus is not “just” a baby.  Jesus is God and the one who saves us.  We see him tonight in a crèche, hear him in a song, find him in the beauty of this place, in the stillness and mystery of worship.

Jesus comes to us this night as light –

In the light of the Christ candle, lit for the first time tonight,

Yet also lit each year.

Jesus is here, still and again,

It it is a mystery to us … even while we are bathed in light.

“Those who dwell in darkness will see a great light,” the Bible tells us.  The light is here.

Jesus comes to us this night as love.  His light is brighter and his love more vast than all of the stars in the sky.  Look up tonight or on a cloudless night and see the magnitude of Jesus.  Count the stars, and we might begin to know how vast is Jesus’ light, how big is His love. … You see?  It is a mystery, even to us who know so much, maybe especially to us, who need to be humbled, to remember mystery and awe and love.

Bathe in the light and love of Jesus, this night and forever more.  Hello, baby Jesus!  Merry Christmas.

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