Eve of the Nativity, December 24, 2016
Galatians 3:8-12; Luke 13:18-29
V. Rev. Fr. Andrew Stephen Damick
In the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, one God. Amen.
Who shall I be at Christmas?
Shall I be as old Israel, caught in captivity and under the domination of powers and attitudes and thoughts alien to the person whom God has chosen me to be?
Shall I be as the scribes and priests and Pharisees, so caught up in my own expectations and my own sense of how things ought to be, my own sense of knowing what is right that I am not open to the One Who is coming?
Shall I be as Herod, threatened by not being the main character in the story, hurting and wounding and killing the souls of others in my rage and resentment?
Shall I be as the wise men from the East, unsure of what exactly is occurring but having seen the sign of hope as from afar, making the difficult journey and bringing whatever I have in worship to the One Who is born?
Shall I be as the shepherds, hearing the Gospel of great joy out in the fields, struck in fear and astonishment at what I am hearing, yet hastening to see what has been spoken?
Shall I be as Mary’s kinswoman Elizabeth, with what is within me leaping at the presence of the Lord of glory even as He is yet unseen, even as I do not understand Him, even as His mother has come to me.
Shall I be as Joseph, given this Gospel in words that seem to make no sense in a situation that makes no sense in a world that surely will not understand, called to be faithful in serving one who is serving the Lord Who serves us all?
Shall I be as the Virgin Mary, given a great task by God, asked to give up myself, asked to give up what is most precious and intimate as a dwelling place for the Lord of glory Himself, asked to remain forever pure, asked to become a place of prayer for all who come to me?
And shall I be as Christ, for there is nothing but Christ and nothing after Christ, for He is my hope, for He is my longing, for He is the One Who has come to redeem me? And to be like Him—that is my all. There is nothing else. As I kneel at the manger, as I go to see a beautiful newborn babe, there, I meet God. And there I become for Him whatever He wants. There I become His own child, His own brother, His own family, His own.
At Christmas, I will be His own, for He has made Himself my own.
To the Christ Who is born for us be all glory, honor and worship, with His Father and the Holy Spirit, now and ever, and unto ages of ages. Amen.
For inspiration for this sermon, I owe a debt to this piece by Metropolitan Georges (Khodr) of Mount Lebanon: “Who Shall I Be at Pascha?”