The story of the birth of the Son of God in the little town of Bethlehem.
Every year again on Christmas Eve we listen to the story of the birth of Christ in the little town of Bethlehem. To liberate this story from the realm of folklore that somehow is part of the holiday and to make it truly meaningful, we have to embark on the journey that the ancient writers are offering us.
We live in a time of materialism that has trouble including the divine and the sacred into its worldview. What we can’t see and measure does not exist in any meaningful sense of the word. Stories that tell tales that reach beyond materialism are regarded as the weird and worthless relative of the facts.
So if we travel to the little town of Bethlehem the question is not: “Was Jesus really born here in a manger? What are the facts and what is the proof?”
The question is: Why do the ancient writer make it a point that Christ was born into a poor family that had no place to go and that had basically no future?
Here the story resonates with the poor and forgotten of all times. Jesus comes to those who don’t count. He is born to them to take away their fear that their lives are inconsequential, that their suffering is meaningless and that their hopes are misplaced. And in the end death mercilessly eradicates all traces of their existence.
And here the story also resonates with us. When we face the hard days of life, Jesus is also born to us. He is with us in suffering and death. In him God reveals that in God’s kingdom all people are important and that God’s love calls all beings into a union of grace and love with their creator.
When we look at our neighbours with love and genuine God will, Christ is born in our hearts as if it were the manger in the little town of Bethlehem.
Rev. Olaf Baumann, sermon, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Port Angeles WA.
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