Sermon for December 30, 2018                  First After Christmas       “Looking in all Directions”

 

Even if you cannot imagine it, it is the last Sunday of 2018 and tomorrow is the last day of the year. John Lennon wrote a beautiful song “another year over and what have you done?” I expect that will be our pondering for the next few days. That and wondering, dreaming and planning what we would like the New Year to hold for us.

 

For today I would like to link to stories that focus us in the same direction. In the Biblical story we are in the days of prophecy fulfilled and prophecy not quite yet fulfilled. Yes, Jesus is born but the whole story is not complete. I know the lectionary folks jump around a bit this week as today we hear about Jesus in the Temple and next week Jesus is a baby again. Such is the mysterious nature of the lectionary and I do not have an explanation.

 

Humans are by nature not very patient. After thousands of years of waiting the people of Israel wanted results, like right now. The birth of Jesus is the opening of prophecy fulfilled. Since the full scope of the prophecy is still not fulfilled, we find ourselves living into the ancient and unfolding story of God.

I was thrilled to see TNB’s version of C. S. Lewis’ “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” I also watched the movie and re-read parts of the book. The stories of Narnia are rich with biblical meaning (quite intentional on Lewis’ part) and I find the Narnia story can bring a contemporary and storied look at the God story.

 

In Narnia the world is frozen until the coming of the prophecy – when two “”Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve” arrive, Aslan will come again; spring comes, life awakens, love lives again.

 

The Christmas narrative shows Mary’s song as a prophecy about God’s action in the world, bringing hope to life. And Zechariah also prophesies – “You, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before God to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet in the way of peace.”

 

Jesus was referred to as God’s son – but did you know he was also referred to as a child of Adam? He was sometimes called a ‘second Adam’. So a “son of Adam” is born, who will set the world right – who will bring a message of peace, hope, joy and love.

 

The Narnians too have suffered long – the White Witch with her magic cast their world into perpetual winter. Father Christmas had not been seen for many years, nor had Christmas been celebrated. Nor any great feasting together. Nevertheless, the children sit down at table with the beavers to a feast of good healthy food which nourishes and strengthens them. With the coming of the ‘Sons of Adam’ and ‘Daughters of Eve’ – children of Creation, Father Christmas appears and provides a great feast for a family of woodland creatures. Complete with a huge plum pudding, and wine.

Jesus sat with his friends and feasted. He took bread and broke it, wine and blessed it and shared all that he had. The feast became a great feast and even now 2000 years later we are living in the love of that feast.

 

These two meals are remembrances and celebrations of times past, living fully in the present, and looking forward to a new life to come.

 

Aslan – meaning King. The King to come – who wipes away the tears from every eye, who rights the wrongs, and brings Life back to Creation. Aslan’s power grows as he returns to the land he created. But Aslan does not, and indeed cannot do it alone. The return of balance in Creation is because of the commitment of the humans, and the creatures. None of them could make it happen alone – it had to be a joint cooperative effort.

 

Likewise, the birth of Jesus came not just because of the power of the Spirit, but because of the commitment of Elizabeth and Zechariah, Mary and Joseph, perhaps an innkeeper, and some ordinary shepherds. They too were waiting, and when the time came they became part of the story, even if they weren’t quite sure what they were doing or what was coming.

 

The whole of these stories – both Narnia and the Christmas story held together- by hope, and by love. For both the Narnia stories and the Christmas story are tales about love – love of others, love of friends, love of family – unconditional love, with no strings attached. That’s what we celebrate all the time.

 

As we look back and gaze ahead, how are we engaged in the unfolding story. Are we prolonging winter in our hearts and others hearts? Are we being the messengers of Jesus? Are we holding up the active tenants of hope, peace, joy and love? I will leave you with the wisdom of John Lennon:

 

“So this is Christmas And what have you done Another year over And a new one just begun And so this is Christmas I hope you have fun The near and the dear one The old and the young

A very Merry Christmas And a happy new year Let’s hope it’s a good one Without any fear

And so this is Christmas For weak and for strong For rich and the poor ones The world is so wrong And so happy Christmas For black and for white For yellow and red one
Let’s stop all the fight

A very Merry Christmas And a happy new year Let’s hope it’s a good one Without any fear

And so this is Christmas And what have we done Another year over A new one just begun And so happy Christmas We hope you have fun The near and the dear one The old and the young

A very Merry Christmas And a happy new year Let’s hope it’s a good one Without any fear”