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Showing posts from December, 2020

Sermon for the First Sunday after Christmas Day, Year B, "After Christmas Morning," Luke 2:22-40

  Sermon 12/27/20 Luke 2:22-40 After Christmas Morning Here’s a confession for you: As far as I can tell, I actually haven’t preached on this text, this story of Simeon and Anna meeting the baby Jesus, a text that appears in the lectionary once every three years, since before I was a pastor. I preached on it last in 2002, when I was a guest preacher at my childhood church, filling in for the pastor on the Sunday after Christmas. It’s not that I don’t like this passage of scripture. It’s just that it always appears on the first Sunday after Christmas day, and even though I might be in worship on the Sunday after Christmas with my congregation, I hardly ever preach. Instead, I usually do hymn stories about Christmas carols, or read several Christmas poems, or something else that requires a little less preparation on my part, a little gift to myself after making it through however many Christmas Eve services I’ve had during the week. Honestly, I also kind of consider it a gift to my con

Sermon for Christmas Eve, "We Know by Heart," Luke 2:1-20

  Sermon 12/24/20 Luke 2:1-20 We Know by Heart I didn’t decorate much for the Christmas season at my apartment in New Jersey. Of course, I knew I would spend the last part of Advent and all of Christmas in Syracuse with my family, so decorating a place I wouldn’t be in seemed a bit silly. But also, most of my Christmas decorations are in a storage unit here in East Syracuse, and my apartment in New Jersey is tiny, and I couldn’t give up valuable space in my apartment to decorations that would come out only for a few weeks a year. I do miss, though, my collection of nativities. I have several beautiful nativity sets that have been purchased by me or gifted to me over the years, and I love seeing all the different ways different artists and different cultures have envisioned the scene of Jesus’ birth, beautiful, creative, and moving. The sets are all different - some include 2 or 3 wisemen, or none at all. Each has a different variety and number of animals thought to be witnesses of Jesu

Sermon for the Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year B, "Favor," Luke 1:26-38

  Sermon 12/20/20 Luke 1:26-38 Favor It feels very strange to be dropping in to Advent here at the close of the season, when Christmas Eve is nearly upon us. Already, you’ve been worshipping together and been preparing for the coming of the Christ child, even if virtually, but I haven’t been part of that preparation, even though I’ve been worshipping (online) too with a faith community in New Jersey. Still, the blessings of being connected as siblings in the body of Christ means that in our various places, we have been thinking about the peace, hope, joy, and love of Advent, that we have been singing some of the same tunes, and certainly, we have been about the same work of preparing our hearts and lives for Jesus.  Today, we’re turning our attention to a familiar text: a passage from the first chapter of Luke when the angel Gabriel tells a young woman named Mary that she will be the bearer of a child, God’s child, who will be the savior of the people. We probably mostly know this stor