Throughout the Christmas story, two things are clear: (1) God is in control, and (2) God is not in charge. This is an important lesson for everyone who feels pushed around by others.
One great surprise about God revealed in Jesus at the incarnation is God’s vulnerability. God is not confined to safe or polished spaces. Instead, he enters our mess. He shows up in “places God isn’t supposed to be,” exposing himself and entering our realities, messy as they might be. To this end, we don’t have to leave our own vulnerable states or situations to find God. He meets us there. He joins the struggle with us, making himself vulnerable right alongside us.
When we come to the “list” passages in the Bible, our eyes glaze over: measurements, records, genealogies – maybe these are part of historical record, but wouldn’t the Bible be better if we took them out? That’s probably true…. unless there’s something in the list that is (itself) a story. This sermon will walk through one of those infamous lists, helping us freshly imagine why these (even these!) verses of the Gospels can be truly Good News.
To people living in the first century, the claims of the first Christians concerning the incarnation were scandalous. Here’s a handful that are so outrageous even Christians have a hard time believing them. Yet the gospels want us to practice them as we enter a season, Advent, that is all too familiar to us.