Sermon for Carols by Candlelight 2013
The Reverend Canon Charles Royden
So this year we saw Edward Snowden reveal that America has been collecting information on people all around the world, apparently the surveillance has been far reaching not just ordinary folks but lots of senior world leaders have had their phone calls and emails and goodness what else spied on and recorded. America is not alone in this they have been working with governments around the world to gain information about who we are what we say and what we do.
I thought this was pretty bad until I heard that this has been going on for much, much longer than any of us realised. The invasion into our privacy has been taking place unknown to us and it is of considerable concern, it is not just Uncle Sam to blame but somebody else about whom we know less.
He sees us whilst we are sleeping , He knows if you’re awake. He knows if you have been good or bad, so you’d better be good for goodness sake.
Yes the all powerful Santa Claus is making a list ! checking it, TWICE ! and he’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice.
For many people God is a bit like this. God is a big brother figure who uses tremendous powers of surveillance. He then makes a list of who is naughty and nice. And then come the big day we find out if we get a nice present or .....coal, and the coal is not in a sack, its burning coal !
Listen afresh to the message of Christmas, it tells us that this is not what God is like. God does not use tremendous powers of surveillance to check up on us. God becomes one of us. In a tiny baby God becomes made of flesh and dwells among us. Immanuel.
This is something which God did all of those Christmases ago.
Some people believe that after this happened - then God left, and went back to his own planet. But the message of Christmas is that God is present. That name given to Jesus - Immanuel - means God with us, not God was with us, but God is with us.
We sang that beautiful carol earlier in our service, Once in Royal David’s City, it has the lines in the fourth verse
and he feeleth for our sadness, and he shareth in our gladness.
God doesn’t spy on us, he walks with us. He offers to share with us the high and lows, rejoicing in our joys, and helping us to bear our sorrows. This is what the Christian life is all about, learning to walk with God beside us. This Christmas may we all seek to make room in our hearts for the God who came down to earth from heaven who is God and Lord of all. Amen.