Pastor Nelson Bonilla: 12-24-23  “Christmas”

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John 1:1-5 and 14

During Advent -United Methodist Church Bishop Julius Trimblesaid, – we make space in our hearts for a child who has and will alter our worlds. This child demands our attention. This child makes us uncomfortable. This child impacts our routines. This child forces us to do things differently.”

Verse 14 from John 1 says, “The Word became fresh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

As strange as it can sound this is how John narrates Jesus’ birthday. The one whom Matthew and Luke present being born in a manger, John present him as eternal; the little and defenseless baby presented by Luke and Matthew; the one born in the womb of the Virgin Mary is according to John the creator, “through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4In him was life, and that life was the light of men.”

The story of the manger in Bethlehem; the story of the wise men and the shepherds has in it a story of sacrifice that usually go unnoticed. Most of the time when we talk about God’s suffering is during Lent. However, Christmas is the story of a mighty God who made himself vulnerable just to come and dwell with his creation; just to be one of them. Paul in Philippians 2:5-7 says: “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.”

The almighty God, the Creator of heavens and earth the one who gives and sustains life took the form of a defenseless baby, a baby who needed an earthly mother and father to help him grow. When Jesus was born, God placed the life of his beloved son under the care of his creatures; Christmas is the way God tells us: Regardless of your rebellion and sin, I still believe in you, I still trust you, and I do it in such a way that I will place my only son in your hands; Christmas is God depending on humans to survive as a child.

In Christmas God made his dwelling, his tent among us. The almighty God shared our flesh, he became one of us, he became our brother; Therefore, Christmas is a great proclamation of the dignity of every human being. God became one of us. Therefore, every man and woman are worthy, are worthy because God himself decided to be one of us. Paul in Colossians 2:9 says, “For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form…”

Christmas is also a celebration of God’s love coming down to us. We see not only his love, but also his mercy, hope, and grace in the life of Elizabeth and Mary. We can see his love on the night when Jesus, the King of kings was born not in a palace, but in a manger to show his preferential option for the poor, the needy, the marginalized. On Christmas night God’s love was made flesh and his glory shone; that night the angel said to the shepherds and to us, “Behold – I proclaim to you good news of a great joy, for today in David’s city a Savior has been born for you, He is the Messiah, the Lord you have waited for.” And so, with this announcement, the nightmare of humankind came to an end. Salvation has come; love has come in the form of a child.

Jesus, the son of God, had come down from heaven to save humanity. That is what Christmas is about; is about our salvation, is about seeing love coming into the world to deliver us from sin and darkness, is about God coming to us, and dwelling with us, and rescuing us from death. 

            Today, we celebrate the love of God shown in the birth and ministry of one called Jesus – of the one whose name means “God Saves. -” In a few days we will remove all the decoration and Christmas will be part of the pass and we will start to get ready for our next Holyday. However, let us not forget that this story of love must continue beyond the beauty of all our decorations, beyond the singing of angels, the gifts and kindness of strangers. This story continues beyond Bethlehem and reaches the whole world and the whole year, because God’s purpose in Christmas is to save His whole creation, all humanity; and that is the good news of great joy we must share during the next 365 days: God’s salvation is here and its available for us; it is for you and me, for our families, for our neighbors here and now and everywhere. The good news of the angels, we must share with others, is that when Jesus dwells in our heart, when Jesus walks by our side, we can have the assurance that our future is not necessarily an extension of our present because “During Advent we make space in our hearts for a child who has and will alter our worlds.” As Bishop Julius Trimble reminds us. Jesus can and will change our lives for better. Therefore, do not let yourself be distracted by the colors, the lights, the ornaments; those are only means to express our joy; a few days after Christmas, they will be in boxes. Do not let Christmas disappear with them.

 Christmas is a lifetime experience. Once Jesus is born in our hearts, every day is an adventure of lights and colors, music, and joy, because Christmas is not something that happen outside; Christmas is not something that last just for a while. Christmas and its Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love remain in our hearts forever. Do you remember the movie “Toy’s story”? Do you remember how the toys came alive when nobody was around? And how the toys were part of the family’s life? The same way may the hope, peace, joy, love, music, and colors of Christmas come alive in you during the whole year, even when the colored lights are in boxes, or the radios do not play Christmas music and those who came to visit are gone. May the Spirit and meaning of Christmas guide every decision and relationship during this new year. 

May the spirit of Christmas continue with you all. 

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