Wednesday, December 24, 2014
Christmas Eve 2014
It's Christmas Eve again. Another year has past and we again are getting ready to celebrate that very special birthday that is the center of Christendom. The birthday of a simple man with a simple message. A simple message that came from God. Love one another. Jesus put it a little differently when he said "what ever you do for the least of mine, you do for me."
Many of us make donations to national and international organizations at this time of year, and this is fine. But how many of you helped a stranger on the street lately? That troubled soul you pass every day? Made up with that neighbor you quarreled with? Or just hugged someone that was having a really bad day.
In 1947 a movie staring David Niven, Loretta Young, and Cary Grant came out. The simple name, "The Bishops Wife", understated the message. It has gone on to become a Christmas classic. I won't give away the plot, but will share with you the sermon that closes the movie. Like Jesus's message, it is short and to the point.
With that, we wish all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Happy Kwanza, Good Solstice, and hope you take this simple message to heart. Love one another, and make peace on earth a reality.
Tonight I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking. Once upon a midnight clear, there was a child's cry. A blazing star hung over a stable and wise men came with birthday gifts. We haven't forgotten that night down the centuries; we celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, the sound of bells and with gifts. But especially with gifts. You give me a book; I give you a tie. Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer, and Uncle Henry could do with a new pipe. We forget nobody, adult or child. All the stockings are filled -- all that is, except one. And we have even forgotten to hang it up. The stocking for the child born in a manger. It's His birthday we are celebrating. Don't ever let us forget that. Let us ask ourselves what He would wish for most, and then let each put in His share. Loving kindness, warm hearts and the stretched out hand of tolerance. All the shining gifts that make peace on earth.