The light of the world

Sermon at St James’ Colwall and All Saints Coddington, Christmas Day 2014

Luke 2:1-20; John 1:1-14

First, a quiz to make sure everyone is awake. Two questions:

  1. What is the title given to Jesus in the Collect today? (Light of the World)
  2. What instruction do we give to the newly baptised? (Shine as a light in the world)

Jesus was born on this day not just to bring light to the world, but to entrust to us part of that light so that we, working together, will shine as his light in the world. We are going to explore these 2 ideas with the help of the Random Christmas Sermon generator. (This is actually a big box filled with examples of light that are going to help us to live as Christ’s light in the world). The objects and their messages are as follows:

MATCHES – need these to start things going. They are not very interesting – but God doesn’t always send stars and angels – we need to look for the signs of his light in ordinary life. And like the matches, we are insignificant on our own, but together we can make a great light.

BABY LIGHT – this is the candle and candle-holder that my children had when they were very small and we had no electricity in our house. So it represents the baby born today and every baby that comes into the world. How many people have seen a tiny baby? Have you seen the God-light shining through it? Every child comes straight from God and every baby is radiant with his light, which is why babies are able to move us deep down in our hearts. So this light reminds us of Emmanual – God with us in Jesus, and the God within us all.

GLOW-STICK AND LANTERN – the glow-stick won’t light up again, it is a once-only light (Used at Woofields Farmyard Nativity!). But the lantern is a wind-up one, with effort it will continue to shine on again and again (2 minutes winding gets 24 hours light!). If we are to succeed as God’s lights in the world, we can’t be one-timers, we need to make an effort so that, with God’s help, our light will keep shining – so keep working at it!

BUTTERFLY LIGHTS – who likes Christmas lights? Christmas lights are one of the ways we share the joy and excitement of the season with others. These lights are butterfly lights and they symbolise that a light is not just for Christmas! We need to keep shining and sharing our light with others the whole year round. And if you are covered with these lights, you become beautiful!

LOW-ENERGY BULB AND HANDMADE CROSS LANTERN – the low energy bulb is a very good thing for the planet and will last for 8 years. That seems a good, long time. But the cross-lantern is 28 years old and was made for a lantern walk in the dark round this church one Easter a long time ago. It reminds us that God’s light really is everlasting and that no matter how dark our way may sometimes become, God will be with us and we can trust him.

FLASHING CHRISTMAS STAR – represents the star that heralded Jesus’ birth. Think for a moment not about this poor plastic star, but about the immensity of the real stars. Imagine that the roof has blown away and that you are travelling out, like the Rosetta probe, into the immense reaches of light in outer space. All that light, all the immense and awesome power reminds us of the immensity of the gift that was given to us and yet it was contained in a tiny baby.

So, when we think of the Light of the World and the fact that God has entrusted part of it to us (“the light that lights every person”), we know that the immensity of God’s light can be seen as the God-light shining through every baby. And that special baby born today calls us to seek and find his light in the ordinary things of everyday life, to keep working at our own shining, to keep sharing and to keep trusting in his infinite love and power. Be his light and shine today and always. Amen.