Sermon I Want to Preach On Christmas Eve, But Won’t

I always struggle with some parts of the Christmas story, particularly Luke’s Christmas story. The more I read it and think about it, the part of the story that grabs me isn’t anything about no room in the inn. It’s not about the angel visiting and the voices of the heavenly hosts singing. It’s not the shepherds visiting or any of that, although those are important and oft highlighted parts of the story. What confounds me so much is the first few verses in Luke 2.

In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. All went to their own town to be registered.

This situates the birth of Jesus smack dab in the middle of an oppressive empire. The historicity of whether a census was actually taken in this way during this time isn’t important to me at this point. But what is, is that Jesus was born under the cover of darkness under a very strict rule of empire.

So how do you preach about the Son of God being born in spite of the constrictions of Empire (Roman) to people of Empire (American)? I’m running up against resistance in saying that we need to make room for the people who don’t have places in the inn with a lot of the immigration stuff going on down here in Arizona.

Surely, I can’t give an anti-empire sermon on Christmas Eve. Christmas sermons ought to inspire comfort and joy (because we don’t have enough of that).

Perhaps it’s not the right time, not the right place.

Perhaps I need to pick my battles.

Perhaps I need to just turn a blind eye to it.

But someone has to say it. Someone has to call out the dissonance between the way the Bible calls us to live and the way we actually do live. We have to give up this (GOP-fueled) “War on Christianity”. Christianity has been normative for so long, especially in positions of power that for white, American, male, Christians (lookin’ at you, Governor Perry) to even hint at being persecuted is a slap in the face to everyone else in the world (sounds like hyperbole, but it isn’t).

We need to change the way we view our selves and our world. And that starts by emptying ourselves as God did when she became a baby and grew up renouncing empire and the power structures that crush people who are not in the majority.

That’s the sermon I want to preach Christmas Eve. But I probably won’t. After all, I’m just the intern. So I’ll say it on here until I get through all the bureaucratic hoops I need to get through.

Then I’ll say it.

Until then… Here we are. With the sermon I want to preach, but probably won’t.

Cheers,
Eric

P.S. Yeah, I did the whole passive-aggressive, refer-to-God-with-feminine-pronoun thing. Another thing I’ve wanted to do, but haven’t. Just like to do it for fun every once in awhile.

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Comments

  1. How about this Christmas? 🙂

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