The folks over at Sparkhouse are really good at making engaging videos. This year, as a Christmas gift, they’ve offered their rendition of the Christmas story, as seen above, for free use by congregations. I think this video is fun and uses the experience of the shepherds to offer us the opportunity to really think about the question, “What difference does Christmas make?”
While Luke works hard to answer that question for us in his account of the birth of Jesus, I think the answer comes some seven or eight hundred years before Jesus’ birth in the words of the prophet, Isaiah. “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness– on them light has shined.”
You might notice a theme in my Christmas blog posts this year, but the motif of light and dark are running through my mind as I prepare to preach the Good News of Great Joy for All People on a dreary, soggy, blah Christmas week. The weather outside is frightful, but the light of the Gospel is so delightful, and I can’t help but wonder, are we able to see just how good the Good News of Jesus’ birth really is?
Or has it become so domesticated, so familiar, that we can’t see how profound an impact this light shining in the darkness had and continues to have? Isaiah is preaching to a people staring down the sharp point of the arrows of Babylon. The angels proclaim their glad tidings to shepherds who are the outcast of the outcast: in many towns, they are barred from entering the city gates because of the stigma of their job. We who gather to worship a God who loved us so much that he gave up everything to be born a totally dependent baby in a backwater town to soon to be refugee parents is, by any rational standard, ridiculously stupid, and yet, it is what makes Christmas so very special.
God loves us so much that he left the light of heaven to enter the darkness of our broken humanity. He did so in a manager in Bethlehem 2,000+/- years ago, and he continues to do so, every moment of every day, through disciples who choose to live in the hope of the light rather than the despair of the darkness. We, like the Israelites to whom Isaiah spoke, walk in darkness, but on us and on all humanity, a light has shined.” This Christmas, I pray that your eyes will be open to see the light, and to recognize the difference that Christmas makes.