Rev. Tina Walker-Morin
Pilgrim Congregational Church, UCC
December 24, 2016
May the words of my mouth and the meditations of all of our hearts be acceptable to you O God, our strength and our redeemer. Amen.
This evening on this O Holy Night, I have a message for you about being the gift.
Have you ever received the perfect gift?
Or as a child, or adult wanted a certain something?
I remember when I was probably 7 or 8 wanting a toy fighter jet. It was a silver military plane, with a black tip nose, a star painted on the wings, bombs that could be released from under the plane, wings that moved in and out and the cockpit lifted up so you could place an action figure inside. It was the coolest toy.
So I asked for the fighter jet for Christmas. Now as a child I was not the most patient when it came to Christmas. I would count down the days, play pretend Santa Claus with my younger sister while we rearranged the gifts which had arrived early from my relatives under the tree. My parents would even wrap some gifts early, why I have no idea. It was like an extra test to see who was good that year.
Seeing those gifts all wrapped in Christmas paper with bows on top was torture for a young Tina. Well, I got the great idea that I could simple unwrap a present see what it was and then wrap it back, so that one would even notice know.
There I was all alone in the dining room looking at my gift leaning up against the sideboard wrapped in Christmas paper. I took a look around to make sure no one would see me and I gently flipped the package over. As best I could I slid my finger under the tape on the back, then at the top, pulling the paper back just a little so I could see. Was it the fighter jet I had been wanting, or a disappointing pajama set? To my delight it was the fighter jet! Excited and rushing I quickly folded the paper back and mushed the tape down before anyone saw.
Then the hardest step came, waiting until Christmas morning when I could finally realize and play with that great gift.
Waiting, that is what we too have been doing over this past month. Waiting for Christmas Eve even though we know the story, we know that Jesus is born so where is the surprise and gift for us this year?
I have heard from many parents that the birth of their child is the best gift they could have ever received. I imagine Mary also felt this way. She literally carried Jesus in her womb for 9 months only to give birth to him in a stable. Having a new baby was a miracle in and of its self and to add to it, Mary actually was carrying the Holy. She had the Holy, she had God incarnate within herself.
How amazing? Mary from within her own being, nurtured and gave birth to the Holy. And she passed the Holy on.
Passing the Holy on is one of the miracles, is one of the gifts of Christmas. What if this year the best present we give to each other and to our community would be to pass along of Jesus Christ, God and the Holy Spirit? Sounds so easy and yet so daunting.
Allow me to give you an example. Three or so weeks ago I received a phone call from Bea’s daughter Karen asking if I knew of any caroling groups? She was looking to have a group of carolers come by her mother’s house to bring some Christmas cheer.
I told her I wasn’t sure of any but to let me look around and I would let her know. Well this sparked me, to send out the congregational email inviting everyone to go caroling last Sunday. After sending out the email and before last Sunday, I did not hear back from anyone saying they were going to come caroling. Then the day before one person mentioned they were coming, so I thought oh good at least it will be me, Tracy and that one person. Then on Sunday there was a total of 10 us caroling!
I was so excited to have so many lovely voices going to our elders to bring some Christmas Cheer. That in itself would have been nice enough, but seeing the expressions on Bea, Jim, Margaret, Libby and Frank’s faces when we showed up and sang to them was priceless. Each of their eyes sparkled and their lips sang along as we shared a heavenly moment. We even were able to spread more joy at the rehab center where Frank was by singing in the community room. Every one of the elders’ eyes (who were there) lit up with joy and love.
For me that was the true meaning of Christmas and thus far my favorite part of Advent this year.
So that is one way you all gave the gift of the Holy, the light of Christ to members of our community and it would be a very nice happy ending if I just stopped there, but like an info commercial….but what there’s more!
Thursday while I volunteered at the food pantry, I ran into one of our neighbors who I have become friendly with. He and his family live around the block and I often run into him at Tedeschi’s or at the Church Fair and just around and about North Weymouth. When I saw him yesterday he had to tell me a story. I was in the middle of carrying bags of groceries out to people’s cars when he stopped me and began telling me…
Last weekend when he was home relaxing and his wife and children were napping on the sofa and he heard a noise. He thought he must be dreaming. But he continued to hear it and it sounded like Christmas Carols. He looked at the television, no it was on mute and the football game was still going on. He checked again and all his kids were napping. Where were these carols coming from? He got up from his chair and looked outside his window and low and behold he said “there you were singing with people from your church.”
He saw us outside caroling at Libby’s front door, standing on her front lawn as she leaned in the door way. Your caroling made him smile and connected us once again. You all passed the light of Christ to people outside of these church walls and that my friends is the miracle of Christmas.
The miracle of Christmas, the gift of Christmas is not about receiving or giving the best material gift in the world like the awesome fighter jet I wanted so badly as a child. No the gift of Christmas is nurturing the Holy within each of us and like Mary giving birth to it and then passing it on to others.
This Christmas know that you are Holy and that you can pass the Holy on. As we say in the ministry work I do with those who are experiencing homelessness, May I see the Holy, May I be the Holy and May I pass the Holy on.