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When Loved Moved Into the Neighborhood

By on December 9, 2018

Today: When Loved Moved Into the Neighborhood
Scripture: John 1:1-14
Rev. Laura Brewster

Introduction: John Begins on a Cosmic Note
John does not begin with the story of Jesus’ birth. It begins on a more cosmic note. Quoting a hymn, John proclaims that the “Word” existed before creation and was involved in creation. In time, the “Word” chose to take human form and “make him home among us.” Eugene Peterson says it more colorfully – the “Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.” When God came into the world, it was no illusion, it was no plastic Jesus. God truly became one of us.

Why Did God Come?
God came out of love for us. Brian Stoffregen writes, Christmas was a tangible, “concrete demonstration of God’s love for all of humanity…” Those who welcomed that love would find their lives changed. Of course, not all people accepted Jesus then. And not all accept him today. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God. Understand that Jesus did not come to condemn us; he did not come to give us new laws to live by; he came that we might become children of God. If you open your heart to accept his love, Jesus paves the way for you to be adopted as a child of God.

Living as People of Light
It is not enough, of course, to content ourselves with delighting in the news that we are loved and adopted by God. ‘The true light that shines on all people” wishes to shine through us. We are not meant to just park on a church pew or wander around our community with no sense of purpose We who have accepted the Light of the World are meant to be light bearers in what can be a dark world So, what would it be like if you asked the Light of the World to radiate love and light and grace through you? The initial idea can sound like fun. Then we remember that Jesus suffered as a result of sharing light and love. And the fact is, we too might be compelled to make sacrifices, to do things that are difficult, to get outside our comfort zones, to take risks. And we are asked to do this work not just at Christmas Season, but all seasons. The poem, “The Work of Christmas,” puts it this way:
When the song of the angels is stilled, when the star in the sky is gone,
when the kings and princes are home, when the shepherds are back with their flocks,
the work of Christmas begins:
to find the lost, to heal the broken, to feed the hungry, to release the prisoner,
to rebuild the nations, to bring peace among the people, to make music in the heart.

Conclusion: God loves us. God loves you. Now let us live as those who are divinely loved and share that love with others.

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Contemporary Worship 9:00am - Sunday Study Groups 10:10am - Traditional Worship 11:00am

7050 Village Center Drive, Austin, TX 78731 512.345.1743 info@NWHillsUMC.org