It’s the same story we hear every year, isn’t it? It’s a story that many have heard and have been participants in most of their lives. It is timeless and ageless, at least for the past couple thousand years.
Though really, it’s truly timeless and ageless going back before there was time. Going back to before the beginning of all things. The gospel writer John doesn’t tell us about Jesus’ birth but he sets the context for the birth narratives of Jesus that come from somewhat from Matthew and primarily from Luke. Those stories of Jesus birth that are loved by so many.
John begins his story by saying, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”
God. Word. The beginning.
The beginning, Jesus as Word, God. All kind of jumbled together at the beginning of all things. Time passes. The world changes, little by little and bit by bit. Then God’s time to join humanity in the real person of Jesus Christ is upon us.
Mary and Joseph travel to Bethlehem to join in the mandated census. They arrive, look around, have some fun trying to find a place to stay in the crowded city and finally, because there’s no room at the inn, they had to settle for what we commonly call a stable because as we’re told, Christ is born, and laid in a manger.
Christ is born. Jesus the Christ, a God breathed Word.
Jesus takes his first breath. Jesus’ breath, breathing in the air that is the same air that was there at the beginning of all the cosmos. The same air that will be there when he is crucified on the cross. The same air that will be there when he rises from the grave three days after his crucifixion. The same air that we breathe tonight as we fill our lungs breathing the same air that Christ breathed when he breathed his first.
As God created the air in a new creation, the air that we breathe today, so too does God create us anew with the birth of Christ. And in that birth, in God coming to earth in the human form of Jesus, the incarnation of God taking on the reality of human life on earth, God joins in the air we breathe.
We all breathe. There is no distinction in breathing, by and large. Rich and poor, big and small, liberal and conservative, whatever sort of distinction you wish to make between us breathing is thea great equalizer because all of us breathe in some fashion. Some with more difficulty than others and health challenges aren’t easy but even so, we all breathe and God in Christ breathed just as we do. The same air that we do. We all breathe.
Until we stop breathing. At that point we stop breathing then we celebrate the promise and hope of resurrection, of life after death. Because of the incarnation of God in Christ that we are celebrating tonight we are then able to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, in his victory over death. Christ returning from death and breathing, just as we do. The same air that we do. We all breathe.
With joy in Christ’s incarnation and hope in Christ’s resurrection, tonight we can breathe. We are freed to breathe. In the midst of health challenges we’re freed to breathe. In the midst of missing someone not at the Christmas table this year we’re freed to breathe. In the midst of family turmoil we’re able to breathe. In the midst of a season spent chasing after any number of demands on our time, our emotions, our pocketbook, we’re able to breathe. In the midst of joy at the birth of Christ our savior, we’re able to breathe.
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So wherever you’re at, whatever you’re in the middle of, whatever is coming next for you and your family; remember the Good News. The Good News that Jesus Christ is born and with us. And with Christ with us, we can breathe.