The Most Wonderful Night of the Year – Christmas Eve 7pm & 9pm

On December 27, 2017, in Sunshine Cathedral, by Rev.Dr. Robert

The Most Wonderful Night of the Year Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins Xmas Eve Let us dwell together in peace and let us not be instruments of our own or others’ oppression; and now, (+) may God’s word be spoken, may only God’s word be heard. Amen. Some ideals are so noble, so inspiring, so uplifting, […]

The Most Wonderful Night of the Year
Rev. Dr. Durrell Watkins
Xmas Eve

Let us dwell together in peace and let us not be instruments of our own or others’ oppression; and now, (+) may God’s word be spoken, may only God’s word be heard. Amen.

Some ideals are so noble, so inspiring, so uplifting, that as much as we admire and appreciate them, we tend to fall short of them. But when they are that good, we don’t give up the dream. We may fail to let the dream become a reality, but the dream itself is just too good to let go.

Take me for instance. I never give up on a beautiful dream. That’s why I’m in the 10th year of a 30 day diet plan.
I struggle with both my weight and my attitude about my weight…but even though I haven’t maintained my ideal form nor healed all of my body shame, I have not retired the idea of better fitness. Maybe one day I’ll reach my goal, or decide I’m the bee’s knees as I am, but even if I don’t, the dream itself is worthwhile.

Christmas represents the beautiful ideal that we all share but that collectively we have not yet made manifest. But every year, every Christmas Eve, we gather again to remember and rehearse the ideal…we keep the dream alive so that one day, we may actually live it.

So once again we return to the Nativity story. The story begins with Mary having her unplanned baby in a barn when she is traveling away from home. She swaddles her newborn and places him in a feeding trough.

At first blush…gross.
But isn’t that what love does? It takes what is available and transforms it. Love faces the fears and disappointments and gives miracles another chance.

Mary doesn’t have a crib, a playpen, or a bassinet. She has a manger. So, she has Joseph clean it up and she creates a makeshift bed for her baby. Love transforms what is available, turning the mundane into a safe place of comfort and rest.

When I was 5 and my brother was just born, some of my family members (including my infant brother and myself) were in a car accident. Everyone was injured except my brother. So, my great Aunt Viola came to the hospital to pick up the baby while the rest of us were admitted for treatment. Aunt Viola (we actually called her Aunt Ola) didn’t have baby things. So she found a box and transferred it into a little crib. That’s what love does. It transforms. A box, some blankets, and a caring great aunt was the formula for a safe and comfortable bed for a newborn temporarily separated from his family.

The Nativity story starts with people being denied a place of comfort, but transforming the humblest of surrounding into a delivery room, recovery room, and nursery. But it also shows other outcasts, shepherds who worked and lived outside in the fields with smelly sheep, being the unlikely ones to receive angel visitations and pronouncements of joy…showing that all people have sacred value.

And in case we missed that all people should have hope, peace, love, and joy in their lives, that all people have dignity and worth, the angels actually spell it out. They declare unambiguously that God’s will is for there to be peace and goodwill for all people.
We sing it. We celebrate it. We get all warm and fuzzy about the angel chorus: peace on the earth goodwill to all…

Maybe this is the xmas when those words will stay with us beyond the holiday and we will no longer rush to war.

Maybe this is the Xmas that those words fill our hearts causing our love and concern for people to extend to immigrants and refugees.

Maybe this is the Xmas that peace and goodwill to all helps us care for people regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Maybe this is the xmas when we decide that peace and goodwill should be extended to the disadvantaged and marginalized, no matter who or where they are.

Maybe this is the xmas where thoughts of peace and goodwill offer a corrective to racism and xenophobia.

Maybe this is the xmas that peace and goodwill lead us to affirm that all people without exception are all the children of the loving goodness that we religious types call God.

Maybe this xmas we remember that the baby we celebrate grows up to say, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Peace on earth, goodwill to all…Dear God let this be the Xmas when we decide that ALL MEANS ALL.

Every year on Xmas Eve we gather to keep the dream alive. One day, may it be soon, the dream will become reality. Until that glorious day, the night we gather to dream the dream remains the most wonderful night of the year. And this is the good news. Amen.

Dear God,
Give us a Christmas miracle.
Let something good be born in our lives tonight.
Fill our hearts with hope, peace, joy, and love.
Amen.

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