St. Giles' Episcopal Church

The Episcopal Church in Jefferson, Maine

December 24, 2018 — Christmas Eve

December 24, 2018 — Christmas Eve

The Rev. Dr. Susan Kraus

“Love Came Down at Christmas.” In your service leaflets you have a copy of this beautiful poem by Christina Rossetti. I hope you will find time to read and ponder it during this Christmas season.

Love came down at Christmas. Love all lovely, love divine. Love was born at Christmas. Star and angels gave the sign. The star of Bethlehem and the angels of the Lord pointed the shepherds to the presence of an infant lying in a manger in Bethlehem, a holy infant, born to be the Messiah, the anointed one of God, the Lord. Love came down at Christmas. In great humility, God became incarnate in Jesus, emptying himself to join humanity as one of us. He was born in humble circumstances and the first people to whom the angels announced the good news of his birth were humble shepherds, rough folk at the margins of society. They, in turn, were messengers to Mary and Joseph, passing on the good news about the child which they had heard from the angels of the Lord. At the heart of Christmas is humility.

Worship we the Godhead, Love incarnate, love divine. Worship we our Jesus. That is why we are gathered here tonight, to worship and adore God, to worship and adore God’s Son, Jesus. But wherewith for sacred sign? What is the holy sign of our true worship of God, our true adoration of Jesus?

Love shall be our token. Love is the visible, tangible sign of our love for God, our love for Jesus. Love that is more than warm feelings. Love in action that can be seen and felt by others. Love to God and to all people. How do we make our love for God visible and tangible? In much more than religious rituals and the use of religious objects. We make our love for God visible and tangible by loving others, as Jesus taught us to love. With humility and by caring for “the least of our brothers and sisters.”

In coming to us in the holy child whose birth we celebrate tonight, God has made a plea to humanity, an urgent request, if you will, to turn to God and to love one another. In coming to us in the holy child whose birth we celebrate tonight, God has given humanity a gift so great that we cannot fully comprehend it. In coming to us in the holy child whose birth we celebrate tonight, God has given us a sign of God’s love for all people, an offering of God’s self that we cannot fully comprehend. The mystery of Christmas, great humility and great love.

This Christmas open your hearts to the loving gaze of this holy infant and be moved to greater love – for God, for Jesus, and for all people. And when you leave this hour of worship, go out into the world as a plea and gift and sign of God’s love to others. For that is our true worship of the Lord who came at Christmas to show God’s love for us.

In Jesus’ name. Amen.

May your hearts and lives be filled with love this Christmas and always!

“Love Came Down at Christmas”

Christina Rossetti

Love came down at Christmas,

Love all lovely, love divine;

Love was born at Christmas,

Star and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead,

Love incarnate, love divine;

Worship we our Jesus:

But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token,

Love be yours and love be mine,

Love to God and to all men,

Love for plea and gift and sign.

St. Giles' Episcopal Church - Jefferson, Maine | A member of The Episcopal Diocese of Maine, The Episcopal Church, and the Worldwide Anglican Communion