Text: Luke 2:1-20
“Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
I begin tonight with these words from the great theologian and philosopher Dr. Seuss. What if Christmas…doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…means a little bit more!” Yesterday, as I was driving from store to store looking for that perfect present to give my father I kept hearing those words, “What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store.” And the day before that, when I listened as a good friend called in a panic because all of a sudden he didn’t think he had gotten his children enough. Again, I heard those words: “What if Christmas… doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”
It hard to think of a time when the “little bit more” has felt more significant than it does this year. More than ever, we need for Christmas to be just a “little bit more.” More than ever, we need a little bit more of Christmas hope. More than ever, we need to feel the joy of Christmas. More than ever, we need to believe in Christmas peace—a little bit more. And more than ever, we need to practice Christmas love—a little bit more.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means that we take to heart the angel’s message: “Fear not!” although we live in a culture that saturates us with messages of fear.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means that we put our trust in a God who comes to us in unexpected ways and in unexpected places through the most unlikely people, even though we live in a world that screams at us to put our trust in ourselves and in our national security and in our bank accounts.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means that God comes to us in the ordinary, in our everyday lives and interactions with one another, even though we live in a celebrity society that focuses on the extraordinary and the spectacular.
And what if Christmas, perhaps, means that God really did choose to dignify humanity by becoming one of us, in the flesh, even though we would rather keep God at a safe distance in a separate, sanitized heaven.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means that our redemption comes not in dying but in being born again and again and again.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means that like Mary we have the courage to say “yes” when the angel visits us? Or like Joseph we risk listening to our dreams.
And what if Christmas, perhaps, means that we keep feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, forgiving the guilty, welcoming the unwanted, caring for the ill, loving our enemies, and doing unto others as you would have done unto you.
As you leave this place tonight, take with you the gentle challenge to ask yourself what if Christmas doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little more. When you start to worry that Christmas morning won’t be perfect, ask yourself, what if? When nerves start to wear thin over the sounds of new toys and old family arguments, ask yourself, what if? And when the quiet settles in, and the twinkle of fairy lights fades, know that indeed, Christmas means a little more.