Every year I watch Christmas movies and as I have grown up my favorites have changed. As a kid, I looked forward to when ABC or NBC aired the Rudolph stop motion animation special and I loved Miracle on 34th Street. Last night, I mentioned my affinity for the Christmas classic Die Hard. And in the past couple of years, my go to Christmas movie has been Elf. It is so joyous and hilarious, it’s about belief and the Christmas spirit triumphing over cynicism and overworking. While watching it a couple of years ago, something struck me. The Code of the Elves has three parts. One, treat everyday like Christmas. Two, there is room for everyone on the nice list. Three, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. Now, I could definitely preach on the latter two but the first one really struck me. Treat everyday like Christmas.
Treat everyday like Christmas. That’s great. Right? I mean, what if we chose love and connection every single day like we do on Christmas? What if we intentionally thought of others, expressed appreciation for others, and spent time with the important people in our lives every day? What if we celebrated Jesus everyday as fully as we do on Christmas? Treat everyday like Christmas. Can you picture it? It would be so nice, it would be transformative, it would be revolutionary. What is Christmas? Christmas is the day Jesus Christ was born. Christmas is the day that God became incarnate. God saw humanity suffering, stumbling, and in pain and chose to walk with us, not dictate and rule from above, but to enter this world as a human baby, to grow up, and to die. So, what if we treating every day like Christmas means treating everyday as a day that Christ can be birthed anew into the world?
Think about our scripture today. The birth of Christ began long before Jesus physically entered this world. It began with an annunciation, the angel Gabriel talking to a young girl, Mary, who would bear a child. ““Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you…you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” Mary responded, as any of us would, with confusion, trying to make sense of what the angel was saying. “How can this be?” And the angel replies, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born[d] will be holy; he will be called Son of God… 37 For nothing will be impossible with God.” God reached out to Mary, told her the Holy Spirit would work within her, and told her she would bear Jesus into the world. And I don’t think God connects with us all that differently. True, God may not have spoken to all of us through an angel but reaching out to creation, connecting with humanity, is part of God’s nature. God constantly reaches out to us in love and grace and the Holy Spirit works within us too. For sure, the Holy Spirit works in us differently than within Mary but Christ said he would not abandon us but leave the Holy Spirit with us to guide us, teach us, comfort us, and help us. Part of our baptism ritual are the words, “The Holy Spirit work within you, that being born through water and the Spirit you may be a faithful disciple of Jesus Christ.” We help manifest God in the world. That is part of our job as disciples, as Christians. Every time we receive communion, we pray these words, “pour out your Holy Spirit on us gathered here, and on these gifts of bread and juice. Make them be for us the body and blood of Christ, that we may be for the world, the body of Christ, redeemed by his blood.” We are the body, the hands, the feet. We can choose to treat every day as Christmas, to treat everyday as an opportunity to birth Christ into the world.
Opportunities to love God and to love our neighbor.
Opportunities to share hope, to be a presence of peace, to experience and spread joy.
Christmas is a joyous day when we remember the birth of our savior. Love came down on that first Christmas morning and on all subsequent Christmases we remember and acknowledge how nothing would ever be the same again. We are heirs of that story and we are a part of that story. With our very lives we have the opportunity to write new chapters of God’s work in the world, opportunities every day to birth Christ into the world.
Today, have a blast. Have fun with family and friends. If you have not already, open presents, eat fabulous food, love one another. Remember and celebrate the birth of our savior! And then, tomorrow, treat that day like Christmas too. Treat that day as a day full of opportunities. Full of God’s guidance, nudging, and love. Full of opportunities to love God and to love your neighbor. To visit the sick, clothe the naked, feed the hungry, and welcome the children. Treat December 26 and every day after as a day when we can help birth Christ into the world. Treat everyday like Christmas. Amen.