Christmas Day – December 25, 2018
Text: John 1:1-14
In the name of the Word made Flesh …. AMEN.
A poem by Jill Pelaez Baumgaertner …
The Word that shaped creation
spun the dust, gathered the seas,
carved the clay, sparked the life.
This Word more than the un-Worded
words of careless speech. This Word
the gospel, the cornerstone, the king
who shatters the darkness,
who gives sight, who becomes the bright
fleshprint of incarnation.
This is the remote become immediate,
the abstract made concrete, the dream
become certain. This is the birth-marked
Word that created our senses
and opened them. He breathes
on us and we live.
If you were at our Advent Lessons & Carols on the First Sunday in Advent
you would have heard that poem.
It was one of the poems included in The Great O Antiphons by Carl Schalk
sung by the Trinity Choir.
What struck me in the poem, was the contrast between the Word,
the worded-Word that, as Baumgaertner wrote:
created, spun, gathered, carved, and sparked.
And the un-Worded word of careless speech.
We know all about “un-Worded words” …
Those menacing words spoken to harm, to main, to hurt.
Words of death injuring and killing.
Words emanating from sin, words turning us inward to ourselves, and away from those around us.
The un-Worded-word is spoken in many ways:
online in tweets, posts, replies, comments …
spoken behind each other’s backs as gossip, as backstabbing, as slander …
spoken directly to each other in emails, letters, face-to-face encounters.
The un-Worded word is spoken for many reasons:
to curry favor, to gain popularity, to amuse, to gain support.
Spoken intentionally to cause pain, to humiliate, to damage.
Spoken unintentionally, thoughtlessly, causing damage and reactions unintended or unforeseen.
So many, un-Worded words …
a cascade, an avalanche, a blizzard.
Spoken when we are prepared to handle it, spoken when we are least prepared.
Spoken by friends, and enemies, and strangers.
Spoken by those we love and, in honest confession,
spoken by us.
Yes, we speak our own fair share of un-Worded words.
Spoken for all the same reasons, in all the same ways …
with all the same affects upon others as everyone else.
On this Christmas Day
in this un-Worded word world
we celebrate the Word … the worded-Word made flesh.
The Word who was in the beginning with God …
The Word who was God …
The Word through whom all things came into being.
We celebrate God’s word, spoken in Jesus Christ.
God’s word of life, healing, forgiveness, mercy, and peace,
announced in the Word made flesh, Jesus Christ.
Speaking from the manger – a word of inclusion among outcasts …
Speaking from the cross – a word of grace among criminals …
Speaking from the empty tomb – a word of life among death.
Because God so loved the world, the Word speaks
to redeem, to sanctify, to make holy.
To heal, to reconcile, to give the people a future with hope.
This Word speaks as Alpha and Omega
as the first word creating life out of nothing.
Speaking again the first word of life into places of death.
The Word spoken as law to restrain our sin and drive us back to the Word.
Spoken as forgiveness in places of guilt and sorrow …
presence in places of abandonment and loneliness …
purpose in places of confusion …
hope in places of fear.
This Word speaks in the water of baptism … naming and claiming us.
This Word speaks in the bread and cup of the Eucharist … filling us with its very presence.
This Word speaks in us and through us … in our love for each other, in our love of the stranger, in our love for those around us.
In an un-Worded word world,
our Christmas joy this day is that this Word
is spoken TO us and this Word spoken FOR us.
For US – this Word is made flesh in Jesus Christ!
For the WORLD – this Word speaks grace, healing, and forgiveness in Christ!
In faith, may we turn our ears, our lives, our very beings to this Word.
May the Word made flesh guide, sustain, and heal us.
May the Word become flesh in us, and through us speak life, healing, and salvation to the world.
Thanks be to God.