The First Sunday after Christmas

The Very Reverend Steve Lipscomb, Dean
John 1:1-18

Today is the First Sunday after Christmas.  This is not a day for a sermon, I don’t think.  Traditionally, at our 10:30 service, we do our annual Christmas Pageant (as is probably pretty obvious to you from the way we’re set up this morning). There’s no need for a sermon when you get the whole thing acted out right there in front of you, the story told in character, scripture and song. A preacher could get in the way!

But there is another reason why a sermon, to me, seems out of place – unnecessary – today (even at a different service). And in case you haven’t yet noticed, this is a sermon on why there should be no sermon!

The reason there is no need for a sermon today is because we simply need to linger in Christmas for a while—with that story we heard on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, in that stable where the Christ child lies, and is suckled at the breast of Mary, and grows strong enough to live and thrive in his new environment outside the womb.

The child in the manger may be God, but he is a baby too, you know–brand new.  And it takes a while for mother and child to recuperate from the trauma of birth – and birthing.  It takes a while for the baby Jesus to get his “earth suit” adjusted, – for Mary to regain her strength—for the two of them to get ready for the journey – quite the journey – that lies  ahead of them.

So let’s give them a little time.  Let’s give ourselves a little time to take in the meaning of Christmas.  John’s Christological statement about the Word becoming flesh is important for us to hear and ponder, but the birth of this little baby is a mystery and miracle that we don’t want to miss or move past too quickly.

While the rest of the world began its Christmas season a month ago (or two), we waited through the season of Advent to get here.  And now, as the world packs Christmas away to make room for the new spring lines and the Easter Bunny, we wait again to take in the wonder of Christmas and its 12 day season.

Madison Avenue’s calendar says Christmas is over, –move on.  The Church’s calendar says wait.  Be still.  Behold the child, Jesus–Emmanuel.  For Christmas has just begun.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God . . . And the Word became flesh and lived among us.   That is all true.  But that the Word became flesh in a baby, in a stable in Bethlehem—That is the true miracle of Christmas.

May we, like Mary – and for just a little while longer – treasure and ponder these things in our hearts.