A few minutes ago, Pam shared the story of Jesus’ birth. Now the bible doesn’t say much about what Jesus was like as a baby. But, I suspect that he was like all babies, and like you were once upon a time.
What do babies do?
They cry, they sleep, they need diapers, they drink milk.
And, so did Jesus. He was a real baby after all, and he was born in a barn with animals all around! He needed food and diapers (cloth swaddling clothes) and lots of love!
The bible story you just heard was about what happened when Jesus was forty days old, that’s just over a month. His mother and father went to the temple, and the temple is basically a church like ours, to give a gift, an offering like we have in church, two pigeons, as a sign of thanksgiving for the child and a healthy mother. Mary might have taken a special bath as a sign of the goodness of life and the goodness of birth, and beginning again as a mother, all fresh and clean.
Two people, Simeon and Anna, are in the temple when Jesus and his parents show up. They’ve been waiting for a long time to see a sign that God is with us and that the world will change.
Have you ever waited a long time for something really important? What have you waited for? Did it seem like forever?
It did for Anna and Simeon: they were waiting for a new world, a world of peace and joy, a world where everybody has enough to eat and there are no bullies or dictators – and they waited decades…and they became good people, who were ready to be part of the world they were waiting for….they became the change they wanted to see in the world.
I know what it’s like to wait for something important – I waited 9 months, almost a year, for my son Matt’s birth…and then almost a year for my two grandson’s births – for the births of James and Jack….
When I was first being interviewed for this church, I waited for about a week or so after I met with the search committee to see if I would be invited up to be your pastor. It’s hard to wait, but when your hopes come true, what joy….and then we waited a year for Jack and James and their parents to move up to Cape Cod, and this completed the circle of life in ways I could not have previously imagined.
Having a baby, or grandbaby, can be one of the happiest things in life…and babies grow up, all of us here are growing up, and the Bible says Jesus became strong and full of wisdom…
Christmas Day is over and gone, and soon you may take down the tree, if you haven’t done so already…but Christmas can last all year long…
That’s the word of the day: the joy of Christmas can last forever. You can grow every day to be wise, smart, creative, and beautiful. You can choose to love. You can choose to be a person who makes the world a better place by caring the people around you and the world around us. God tells us, in the words of the poet, that we are the ones we’ve been waiting for and, in the words of Gandhi, we are the change we are seeking in the world, if we so choose.
It’s already happening: you are growing, and God loves you. And because of that, Christmas can last forever. You can become the change you want in to see in the world. You can bring joy and love to every task, and happiness to everyone you meet.