Sermon for Christmas Morning (Year C), 25 December 2021
Readings: Set III – Isaiah 52.7-10; John 1.1-14
There’s a gorgeous ginger tom cat that likes to loiter on the path between the Rectory and Kingstone Church – if you’ve ever walked along the lane you may have met him. He is the most affectionate cat I’ve ever met, and completely indiscriminate about his attentions.
He will, without prompting, approach everyone he meets to say ‘hello’ and before you know it you’re crouched by him and giving him scratches and pets. He doesn’t often let you leave quickly, and will likely follow alongside you for a short while until it becomes clear that you’re now properly on the move.
He will then return to his post and await the next soft-hearted sap who meanders down the lane.
The other day I was once again making the journey over to Kingstone Church, and as expected I met my gorgeous ginger friend. However that day something was different – I wasn’t the only one on the path. In fact, I passed multiple people on the path that day, and each time we stopped and had a conversation about the cat and how affectionate he is.
“Isn’t he lovely? So friendly! So loving! I think he lives across the field, but comes here everyday for attention!”
He is a very beautiful, carrying a message of love and goodwill between us.
And as I said goodbye to my feline friend (making my way on to my destination), it struck me that the encounters I had had with with cat and the others on the path reminded me of my relationship with Jesus, and the others that I meet on my journey with him.
I encounter Jesus a lot in my daily life – sometimes I seek him out in familiar places, sometimes I stumble across him, and sometimes he surprises me with his company. When I’m with him, he does so draw my affections, and when I try to move on he tends to follow after me.
And when I meet others on the path of life, when he is with me I find that he directs the conversation – and it is always a joy to discuss him with others as they meet him.
Yes, Jesus is in many ways like my cat friend: he has a home but chooses to linger on the path of our lives; he is indiscriminate about his affection, and will show his love to anyone that encounters him; he will demand your attention and follow you home; and he is most definitely the boss in our relationship – as much as he loves me, it is my purpose to love him before anything else in my life.
Imagine if our conversations were also so dominated by our love for him as they are by the ginger cat (for those of us who know him):
“Isn’t he lovely? Full of compassion and grace – I met him here and I don’t want to leave. Aren’t we lucky that he wants to be with us? Have you met him? He’s so friendly!”
Because – like the cat – Jesus is a beautiful messenger. His message, however, is more than affection: he brings us the Good News of peace and salvation, forgiveness of sins, and restoration to the holiness of God.
Joy to the world – the Lord has come!
Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth!
The saviour reigns!
And as we bear this good news to others we share in his beauty. Because good words, news of life and hope, is always welcome. It is our duty and our joy to speak of him.
It is not always easy to talk about Jesus, as doing so means taking a risk.
But talking about Jesus does not have to be a full sermon. It shouldn’t be pushy, or judgemental, or any of the other things that we fear.
No, we simply need to share his beauty in little everyday ways – just as we talk about the ginger cat, or a beloved child, or a favourite hobby or story.
“Have you heard? Have you seen? Isn’t he lovely?! This means so much to me…”
Christmas is the perfect opportunity to do this – in fact, people expect us to! What are our ‘Christmas Greetings’ other than tidings of the Good News? We can be heartfelt in our “Merry Christmas”, let our joy and earnest belief shine through. Show that this truly is good news to us in our lives, and something that we want others to share in.
So today, as you meet the newborn Christ in our worship together, may he follow you home.
May he pester you at your feet, demanding your attention.
May he lavish you in affection and may you love him in return.
And as you encounter others on your path, may love of him dominate the conversation.
May you bear the beauty of his message this day, and always.