Christmas Eve Sermon: Counting On Christmas
I used a poem by Elizabeth Barrett Browning as part of my Christmas Eve sermon.
It was written in the mid 1800's. Almost everyone knows at lease one or two lines from it. I hope it is in the public domain.
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
my soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
for the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
I love thee to the level of everyday's
most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
I love thee with a passion put to use
in my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
with my lost saints.
I love thee with the breath,
smiles, tears, of all my life! And, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.
I think the poet was expressing a love that had no describable limits, that had stood the test of time, that would endure through all the challenges of life. She used this poem to try to count how much and in how many ways love could be expressed. (At least that what I think it means. I didn't pay any attention whatsoever in my English Literature class way back when.)
Christmas is a time that people count on;
for an end of year bonus at work;
for one more customer to walk through the door;
for the generosity of others for a needed boost (or handout);
for good news instead of bad with regard to illness or loss;
for hope at the birth of a Savior.
(I've shortened the sermon a lot.)
God is counting on Christmas, too. God is counting on the Spirit of Christmas to break into hardened hearts - counting on the love and goodwill shared by many to make a difference in the kingdom here on earth - counting on the joy of the season to touch lives.
My prayer for you, for the Church, for all God's people everywhere, is that this may be a season in our lives to be changed by the Son who changes everything.
Joy and Peace!
P.S. Ask me about how learning to ski down an active manure pile had anything to do with the Christmas sermon.