All the Days Around Us

Sermons

Preached by Fr. Paul Allick on 1st Sunday during Christmastide (Sunday, December 31, 2017)

Isaiah 61:10-62:3; Galatians 3:23-25, 4:4-7 John 1:1-18

 

Each time I hear or read this passage from the Gospel of John, I am reassured. This is John’s way of explaining the Nativity of our Lord, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” All of the wisdom, love and logic of God comes to us in human form using human language so that we can know God intimately.

 

I am reassured that if we stick with Jesus, if we really listen to him, if we persistently put his Gospel at the center of our lives, in the end our own lives are going to make sense.

 

There is a logic and design to the universe; there is a logic and design to our lives. When I hear this Gospel, I am reassured that my life does and will make sense. All of the stuff, what I judged to be good or bad, is going to add up into a logical progression. Yes, some of the bad was just plain evil and some of the good was just nonsense but not most of it. The majority of my experiences adds up to me being me. Even the mistakes have made me a more whole person.

 

The Logic of God has come to us in the person of Jesus Christ. If, in this earthly pilgrimage, we put our hearts in his hands, life will make more sense. Our very lives in all of their joys and confusion will bring light to us.

 

I hear this idea in a poem by the 18th century Irish poet, Thomas Moore. It is called, Oft, in the stilly night. Here are some lines:

 

Oft, in the stilly night,

Ere Slumber’s chain has bound me,

Fond Memory bring the light Of other days around me;

The smiles, the tears, Of boyhood’s years,

The words of love then spoken;

 

The eyes that shone,

Now dimm’d and gone,

The cheerful hearts now broken!

 

Thus, in the stilly night,

Ere Slumber’s chain has bound me,

Sad Memory bring the light

Of other days around me.

When I remember all

The friends so link’d together.

I’ve seen around me fall,

Like leaves in wintry weather;

I feel like one, Who treads alone …

 

Thus, in the stilly night.

Ere Slumber’s chain has bound me.

Sad Memory brings the light

Of other days around me.

 

In the silence of a still night, our fond and sad memories bring the light of other days around us. In the whole of our lives – the smiles, the tears, words of love, loved one’s lost – meaning is revealed. 

 

We are not conscious of it most days, but our lives are adding up to a whole. When we take time to reflect on those other days around us, the illumination will come. Then we are unbound to serve God and each other in a spirit of gratitude. It is in this enlightenment that we meet God in the flesh; He is one of us with his own fond and sad memories.

 

Think of it. Our dear Lord had a childhood. He had neighbors and friends whom he loved and fought with. He watched loved ones be born and die. He got sick. He experienced joy, sorrow, humor and suffering. Our Lord laid awake in the still night and thought of other days around him.

 

This is why we rejoice! We rejoice, as Isaiah rejoices, that God has clothed us with the garments of salvation and the robes of right relationship with God and each other. We are now the crown of beauty and a royal diadem in the hand of God.

 

We rejoice at what St. Paul teaches the congregation in Galatia. Now we are justified by our faith and not the harsh discipline of the Law. God has been born of a woman under the Law to free us. God has adopted us. Now we are able to approach the Almighty and cry out, “Abba! Father!”

 

And all of this was accomplished through God joining our human experience; our smiles, tears, and words of love. 

We tend to look for God in all the high and holy places beyond ourselves. We feel inadequate. We don’t think to look for him where he is now: in the very center of our messy lives and the lives of others.

 

The totality of our lives is one thing but today we celebrate something even more enlightening. We celebrate the totality of life itself. The eternal Word, that existed before anything else existed, enters our reality.

 

He comes to us in a shocking way. This newborn child in a manger is the eternal logos. St. John tells us “All things came into being through him…What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all the people”.

 

Nothing can bring us deeper into the meaning of our own lives than the meaning of all life itself. Jesus Christ enters into all of our fond and sad memories. In him they all come together and shed light on all the days around us.