'In these last days God has spoken to us by His Son.' Hebrews 1:3
Brothers and sisters, when I was younger I had an old flip-phone. At the time it was great! It totally did it's job. Kids on this phone you could call people and text people… it was amazing! I could hear from my friends in two ways; I knew where to meet them; I could change plans if it looked like rain. This phone was brilliant for communicating.
In our second reading today (Hebrews 1) we are reminded that God has always been talking, has always been communicating with the world which He made. Verse 1:
‘In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways’.
God sent His equivalent of texts. God sent the prophets to speak to His world, and to tell them all about Him. God never left His people in the dark, He never left them guessing about whether He loved them, or the purpose of their lives. God always spoke to them through the prophets. However, kids guess what I got now which replaced my old phone… a new iPhone! Look the screen is so much bigger! I can call people, and I can text people just like before… but now I can also FaceTime them, and Zoom them. This phone is so much better for speaking to people. I wonder if that is what God does at Christmas Does God gives us a better way of communicating? A better mobile if you like? Let’s have a look at verse 2:
in these last days [God] has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom also he made the universe.
It looks like God has gone one better too; it looks like God has done the equivalent of upgrading His phone. No longer does God speak to His people thorugh prophets, now He speaks to us through His Son, Jesus. It sounds a bit like God doesn't just text and call… now He also can FaceTime and Zoom. It looks a bit like—at Christmas—God upgraded to a new contract. But wait, we’re told more. Look now at our Gospel reading (John 1), verse 1:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made;
without him nothing was made that has been made.
Hmm... that doesn't sound too much like sending a new phone as a present; after all we’re told He who was sent at Christmas, was there at the beginning. In fact this reading sounds just like Genesis 1 at the beginning of the Bible when God made everything! It’s almost as if what happened at Christmas is like the beginning of the world all over again! Let’s find out more. St John says:
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did NOT recognise him.
Wow! That says that the One who made the world came into the world. That says God came to earth, Himself! So actually as nice as it is to get a new phone, as nice as it would have been, to have upgraded from the prophets to a super prophet, as nice as it would have been to go from texting to FaceTime, God goes one better! At Christmas God doesn’t just send a present, God doesn’t just drop off a new phone, a new way of communicating; no at Christmas God comes Himself. Jesus isn't just an upgraded prophet! Jesus isn't just better at telling people about God: no the baby born in a manger, the baby we think about every year, was God Himself coming to speak to His world. We should have known, after all what does Isaiah speak about in our Old Testament reading (Isaiah 52:7-10):
When the Lord returns to Zion, they will see it with their own eyes.
That first Christmas wasn't like speaking to God on a new phone, it was God coming and knocking on our door, and chatting to us face to face.
Now kids, what options do we have when we get a present, or when someone comes knocking on our door? We can accept or reject. We can accept the present and welcome the person in… or we can reject the present and close the door. Those are the two options which are in the Scriptures this morning. How did St John put it?:
He came to that which was his own, but his own did NOT receive him.
When Jesus came into the world, most people rejected Him. They didn't want God in their life. They left the gift under the tree. They closed the door in His face. Plenty of people so that today, and that is really sad, because Jesus offers us life and love. However, there is another option, St John tells us:
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name,
he gave the right to become children of God’.
Our other option is to accept Jesus. To unwrap the present. To open the door and welcome Him in. If we do that, if we believe in Him and trust Him with our lives, then He will make us His family; He will give us life and love, and He will always be there for us.
That first Christmas, after years of communicating to His world through the prophets, God came Himself to speak on His own behalf, to speak directly to His world, and to invite everyone to become members of His family. This Christmas, we are remembering God coming, and we also remember His offer; we choose again whether to accept His present, whether to open the doors of our hearts to Him; and if we do, He promises to give us life and love for He gives Himself as our present. Amen (from Fr Mike).