December 22, 2019
Fourth Sunday in Advent-Love
Rev. Elizabeth Aguilar
Community Congregational Church of Chula Vista, UCC
Everyone has a favorite Christmas movie, don’t they? Which is yours? Mine is a very silly one. It isn’t at all the sentimental kind like, “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “The Charlie Brown Christmas Special” which I happen to own and like very much. No, my favorite Christmas movie is “A Christmas Story” about a 9 year old boy who is hoping that he will be given a bb gun, called a “Red Ryder Carbine Action Two Hundred Shot Range Model Air Rifle”. All through the movie he schemes on how to convince his parents of this Christmas gift. You see, the problem is that his parents and everyone else he mentions the gift to, tell him that the bb gun would be a terrible thing for him to want for Christmas because he can, “put his eye out that way.” Well, I won’t tell you if he gets his Christmas gift he’s wishing for or not (in case you’ve never seen the movie before). I will tell you however, that toward the end of the movie, right before the boy’s father has an opportunity to eat the turkey he’s been so anxiously waiting for, a group of dogs come into their house and attack the turkey and eat it all up. The kitchen is left in shambles and the turkey is all gone. The family is forced to have their Christmas meal in a Chinese restaurant. So in this movie, not everything comes out quite exactly the way the characters in the movie want them to. No, what we see are all sorts of mayhem, chaos and silliness. Therefore, it isn’t the kind of movie that depicts a “Christmas that works.”
Now I know that we have all been trying very hard, just like we do every year to make this Christmas “work” for us. And for some of us, it probably has been. But I imagine that for the majority of us it has been let’s say, “less than picture perfect.”
There were stores that did not have that last item you just needed to get for your son. There was the traffic to get through, the countless cookies to bake, the ribbons to keep away from your pets or small children. There were the distant family relatives that you never hear from except during this time of the year, for which you HAD to send a Christmas gift.
Then there are some of you who have been dealing with much more stressful situations, like serious family illnesses. Some of you have been mourning the deaths of loved ones in very acute ways during this season. Others of you have been dealing with difficult financial situations.
Today, I want to remind you, however, that our picture “imperfect lives” does not determine Christ’s love for us. In fact, I also want to remind you that this Savior who came to us in the form of a baby boy did not come to us in a picture-perfect situation, either. He came during a very hostile political environment. His life was in danger before he was even able to speak, because he was seen as a threat to the king at the time. He was born to a young couple with no money and no home. Yet, in the midst of all that less than picture-perfect first Christmas, Christ did survive and did grow up in order to save us from our sins.
So, while your Christmas dinner might not be picture-perfect, or while some of you might be dealing with some real sadness this Christmas, remember that God who came in the form of a human, lived among us as Jesus the Christ, because He wanted to know us, love us, and save us. Thus, let us remember that this God who loved us so much to live and then die and be raised up from the dead, came so that we might have eternal life with Him. Jesus the Christ, did all of this, despite our imperfect lives, our flaws, our hurt, and our pain.
You see, His love is not limited to who we are. It is about who He is. Now, let us go out to celebrate with our families, our enemies, the widow, the orphan, the less than perfect people that we know, with the kind of love that is Christ-like; kind, forgiving, patient and generous. Let us worship this Savior who loves us no matter what and who calls us to follow Him no matter what. Amen!