The Greatest Gift

This week is a continuation of our sermon series based on Matthew Rawle’s book, The Redemption of Scrooge (available in paperback or as a digital download from Cokesbury; or from Amazon).

This week, I invite you to think about where in your life you hear wisdom from unexpected places. Perhaps it’s from children, from a person you usually disagree with, or anywhere else.  Also, look for this lesson in our annual Christmas musical, “Santa’s Backup Plan,” playing in worship this Sunday at both services and at 2pm.

Luke 2:8-20
8Nearby shepherds were living in the fields, guarding their sheep at night. 9The Lord’s angel stood before them, the Lord’s glory shone around them, and they were terrified.

10The angel said, “Don’t be afraid! Look! I bring good news to you—wonderful, joyous news for all people. 11Your savior is born today in David’s city. He is Christ the Lord. 12This is a sign for you: you will find a newborn baby wrapped snugly and lying in a manger.” 13Suddenly a great assembly of the heavenly forces was with the angel praising God. They said, 14“Glory to God in heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors.”

15When the angels returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go right now to Bethlehem and see what’s happened. Let’s confirm what the Lord has revealed to us.” 16They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. 17When they saw this, they reported what they had been told about this child. 18Everyone who heard it was amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19Mary committed these things to memory and considered them carefully. 20The shepherds returned home, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. Everything happened just as they had been told.

What messages in this text come from unexpected places? How does Jesus’ birth give us the opportunity to know God in new and unexpected and life-giving ways?

Supplmental Scriptures
Exodus 16:13-21, Matthew 20:1-16, Luke 2:1-10, Luke 15:1-10

Readings from Chapter 3 of The Redemption of Scrooge
Sunday: The Life of Christmas Present
Monday: Want, Need, Wear, Read
Tuesday: Good News, For Some
Wednesday: Cratchits & Crutches
Thursday: Eyes to See
Friday: God Bless Us, Every One
Saturday: Reflection: Laughter

Post-Sermon Update on 12/13
For those who were able to enjoy Santa’s Backup Plan, I hope you saw the parallels in our ongoing series and the musical performance. Here is the very brief audio from the introduction into the musical.

In the musical, one of the characters has wisdom to share but is only heard after taking extraordinary steps. In Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Scrooge is only able to hear the profound message of love from the Cratchit family through extraordinary circumstances – the ghost of Christmas Present.

How could you seek out the silenced voices? How could you be an agent of the extraordinary in bringing the ordinary voices to the forefront?

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