This was originally a bi-lingual homily, but I forgot to record it live.
Christmas is celebrated by Christians around the world.
We don’t all celebrate the same way.
But in most places, there are gifts and decorations.
We decorate our homes to honor the birth of Jesus.
Decoration is putting beautiful things on display.
Did you know that our worship as Christians is a form of decoration?
Our sons just read for us the Magnificat.
It is the song of Mary, the mother of Jesus.
A teenage girl from Nazareth is told by an angel that she is pregnant.
And her response is worship.
She magnifies God.
She wants Him to be bigger in her life.
She bears witness to His greatness, His holiness, and His mercy.
Then she tells us how good He is, how just He is.
Mary uses her words to decorate God.
She wants us to see Him the way she sees Him.
She wants us to love Him the way she loves Him.
Her words add nothing to God.
He is already beautiful.
Our worship doesn’t add anything to God either.
He doesn’t need our words.
He doesn’t need our songs.
He doesn’t need our money.
So why does God command us to worship?
Because it puts his glory on display.
And it helps us enjoy God the way we were meant to.
If someone painted us a beautiful, timeless work of art…
…we wouldn’t hang it in the bathroom.
We’d hang it in the best place in our home.
We’d make sure the lighting was just right.
We’d want everyone to see it.
That’s the point of worship.
God has given Himself to us as a gift.
Our job is to display His gift and enjoy it.
Christmas gifts are meant to celebrate that.
We receive gifts with thankful hearts and remember Christ.
Mary uses her words to describe that gift in the best possible way.
Her God is a faithful promise keeper.
He is a God who sees the humble.
In the heart of the song, Mary tells us how God deals with people.
He scatters the proud.
He brings down the mighty.
He sends the rich away empty.
He uses His strength to exalt the humble.
He fills the hungry with good things.
In other words, Christmas is not for the proud, the mighty, and the rich.
Christmas is for the humble and the hungry.
That’s how God wants to be known.
That’s how Mary displays or decorates Him.
He is the hero of the poor.
He is the enemy of the proud.
That’s good news for all the people who struggle with the Christmas season.
And that’s a lot of people.
If you’ve lost a loved one, Christmas is hard.
If you’re struggling financially, Christmas is hard.
Sickness, relationship problems, mental health issues…
Christmas can easily remind you of everything wrong in your life.
But it’s the people who don’t feel like decorating who most need Christmas.
And according to Mary, that’s who Jesus came for.
Just look at the characters of the birth narrative.
The story is full of social outcasts, refugees, and sad people.
Christmas happened against a background of sorrow.
Jesus understood that as well.
When he began his ministry, he read these words from Isaiah:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovering of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Luke 4:18-19
That’s how Jesus understood His own purpose.
If we’re not celebrating that kind of good news, then we aren’t celebrating Christmas.
We’re celebrating some man-made, commercialized nonsense.
The Jesus we worship is the hope of the humble.
I’m an anxious, selfish, redneck mess.
But I remember the Gospel and all I want to do is make Jesus more beautiful.
He did not use His strength to crush us.
He has helped us.
He has spoken words of life to us.
At the end of the Gospel of Luke, Jesus explains everything to his disciples.
“Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance for the forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.’” Luke 24:45-48
All of salvation is a gift of God.
The Incarnation of Christ was a gift.
The death and resurrection of Christ was a gift.
Repentance and faith are gifts.
Forgiveness of sins is a gift.
Even the ability to understand any of this is a gift according to verse 45.
I can’t fix whatever problems you may be having in your life.
But I can encourage you to receive the gift of Jesus.
He is the hero of the hurting…
Because he suffered with us and for us.
He was born to die for us.
In Christ, we receive righteousness.
And forgiveness of sins.
And one day He will fix everything wrong with the world.