"A Warning" -- Sermon Snippet

January 6, 2020

(Scripture Text: Matthew 2:1-23)

On this Epiphany Sunday, our nativity scene is finally complete: we can gave in wonder at this dreamlike vision of God's peaceable kingdom, where the powerful are brought low, and the lowly are paid homage.

 

But in the dream of Christmas, there comes a warning as well—a wake-up call, a demand to turn the page, to move on to the next frame of the story, to see what the coming of Christ really means.

 

This is that next frame after the manger, and magi: frightened and furious mothers and fathers of slaughtered innocent children, victims of the greed and narcissism of a ruler who could care less about his people. 

 

What does this mother see when she looks at you? Does she a friend, coming to offer shelter or escape? Or does she see a soldier following orders, discovering her and her baby in their hiding place? Or perhaps she looks with ghastly look upon an indifferent face, the face of one standing perfectly still for a moment, only to go on about their way, saying to themselves, “this is not my problem—they are not my problem”

 

We have been warned, friends, in this Christmas season.Because the Christmas story is not complete without the darkness…but the darkness does not have last word.

 

Who will we be to that barefooted mother with terror in her eyes, to the child in her arms? Who will we be to our the neighbors we too often ignore, to poor, the prisoner, the minimum wage worker, the widow and the widower, the orphan and the refugee? When people see us, will they know that Christmas has come? Not unless we show them.

 

(Painting by Leon Cogniet, "Scene du Massacres des Innocents" [1824])

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