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Homilies by Rev. Andrew Collis unless indicated otherwise.

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Christmas Day, Year C
South Sydney Uniting Church
December 25, 2015

Isaiah 9:2-7; Psalm 96; Titus 2:11-14; Luke 2:1-14 (15-20)

‘The Nativity Is Us’

“Every day calls for a new song” the psalmist sings. Isaiah prophesies of a newborn: “This One shall be called Wonderful Counselor [and] this dominion, this peace, will grow ” The letter to Titus looks forward to a “blessed hope”. Our Gospel recounts the birth of Jesus in a cattle-shed, the witness of poor shepherds, and Mary the protest singer’s heartfelt reflections. God be with you

On Christmas morning we look back but we don’t look back to a brute fact so much as to an icon; a symbol of Word made flesh, the birth of faith and hope, divine life born to human parents and a human family, among the poor and vulnerable, and all those susceptible to wonder and to newness.

We look around us and we look forward. This is about God, for Christians, God as the being-born of grace, of non-violence, of forgiveness; a counter-power to five-star culture and brutal oppression, a feeble power of love in the world, for the world.

And so one of the most faithful things that we can do as bearers of this story, this symbol, is to honour and preserve, to uphold, the most gracious, the most non-violent, the most loving impulses in us, the myriad ways the Word wants to be made flesh in our communities.

What is it that we are giving birth to? And what is the promise in our community and in our (evangelical-ecumenical) tradition, what is the promise that might come to birth, come to reality, in us and through us?

What is the promise of “the city of David”? What is the promise of Judaism? What is the promise of Islam? (Out of ignorance it’s tempting to dwell on limitations, tragic failures.)

What is the promise of Reconciliation? What is the promise of Australia?

What is the promise of Redfern-Waterloo (the promise of hospitality when there’s “no room at the inn”)?

What is the promise of a climate sensitive technology and global community?

What is the promise of each respectful conversation (the very next conversations we hold) around justice and around peace-making?

There’s too great an emphasis on death in too much that passes for religion. And the special beauty of Christmas is its focus on birth, its focus on coming to be, and the coming of the light in all its vulnerability, in all its dependence on the potential goodness of human parents, the potential goodness of human beings.

We each hold a part of the Nativity scene coloured by Ben Rawcliffe. Each of us comprises part of the Nativity. The Nativity is us. Amen.