Sermon for Sunday January 5, 2020
In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Amen!
Where is the son my dears? Where is the son, which we celebrate the birth of today and which we declared by crossing ourselves and mechanically say “in the name of?”
A man traveled around the world in search of God. Looking high and low, up and down, he does not find God. One day during his travels, he meets an elderly priest and asks, “you who have dedicated your life to God, you pray earnestly and act through mercy and piety, have you seen God?” The priest answers, “yes, I see God everyday.” Surprised by this answer the man asks the priest to show him God. The priest takes out a piece of paper and pen and writes the name God and hands it to the man, asking “what do you see?” With a smirk the man answers, “I see God.” Then the priest places a dollar bill on top of the paper and asks, “what do you see?” Again smirking, the man answers, “I see money.” “Did God disappear?” asked the priest. “No” answers the man. The priest says, “therefore, to see God, you must first begin by removing the obstacles in your way.”
My dears, today we greet each other with the Christmas greeting of Christ is born and revealed. Yet, how many of us truly see Christ revealed in our lives? How many of us see Christ born and revealed in today’s world where families are broken, leaders are manipulated, isolation is on the rise, arrogance and ignorance are celebrated and where we fall victim to all this and more? Where is Christ revealed in our lives with all the obstacles that we ourselves have placed? In the Gospel we read of these men, these magi who traveled long distances in search of the God, the Son, the King that we celebrate as Christians. Regardless of if there were 3 or 30, these wise men traversed deserts, mountains, and valleys and came to a foreign king asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews?…” I don’t know how many of us have traveled across the desert but apart from the physical difficulties, there are also the mental difficulties. Additionally, not only did they move physical obstacles in search of this child, whom they perhaps barely understood the significance of, but they also put their own lives in danger by going to a king and asking where is the actual king? Yet, because of their desire to find the Son, they did all they could in order to reach their goal.
What about us? We drove in comfortable cars to a warm Church, after which we will receive a prepared dinner, yet, how many of us took time to reflect on what it is we are celebrating today? Perhaps on the way here, we drove past beggars in the street, ignoring them. Perhaps this morning when we woke up, we remembered some sort of pain we are dealing with. Every time we cross ourselves in prayer and say “In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”, do we understand, do we see God in our lives, or have we built obstacles in the way? Obstacles such as anger and laziness or excuses to not come and be a member of this body. Obstacles which are obvious such as pride and arrogance, and obstacles that may not be so obvious such as giving more importance to our own ambitions than desiring to be with God.
My dears, if we desire to see God, if we hope to find Christ Jesus born and revealed in our lives, than we must begin by removing those obstacles. Forgiving rather than holding on, showing love rather than retaliating, bending down and helping rather than criticizing. Just as Christ, the King of Kings came down became flesh, forgave and loved – likewise we, by doing so, we will also see Christ born and revealed in our lives. Not superficially, but tangibly. Not just on Sunday’s in Church, but everywhere and every day in all aspects of our lives. Not just in a priest dressed in robes but also in the beggar and prostitute in the streets dressed in rags. Because Christ was born and revealed to all those who desire to find Him. Christ is born and revealed in those who truly search for Him. The wise men from the East and the Shepherds in the field. Ultimately to all of us, who are called to be the witness to that revelation, a revelation that is brought into this world through us and our actions and how we treat each other.
Therefore, my dears if we truly want Gods blessings, Gods protection, God revealed to us through his son Christ Jesus, whether we are crossing ourselves, on our knees begging, or if we are just beginning our walk in faith – all of us equally must remove our obstacles, come to the Holy Altar, confess our sins, repent and turn away from that which separates us from God and we will find God. Only then will we join the shepherds and the wise men at the manger, equally worshiping our Lord, the King of Kings and with the angels we will sing “Glory to God in the Highest.” Glory for Christ is Born and Revealed in us. Blessed is the revelation of Christ. Blessed is that Revelation of God. Krisdos Dzav yev haytnetsav!