Matthew 2:13-23

December 29, 2013 by Ken Dale

When I was in high school, the Pilgrim Fellowship ? (anyone remember that ? anyone here part of that back then?) in our church had about 60 or 65 kids in it.? And we had our own newsletter that had a ?what if?? column in it.? Just one liners that hinted at something about someone in the group ? ?what if so and so ? got a speeding ticket, or whatever.? It was a fun column that we all hoped not to see our name in.? But that whole ?what if? scenario came to mind as I pondered this week?s reading from Matthew?s gospel.? It could apply to the Christmas story in many ways.? I mean think about it ? what if Mary didn?t believe what the angel Gabriel told her about ? or Zechariah and Elizabeth?? What if Joseph didn?t believe what the angel told him ? what if he just graciously left Mary behind?? In today?s story ? what if the magi decided to stop and see Herod on their way back anyway ? even though an angel appeared to them and warned them?? ?What if Joseph had decided to journey north instead of southwest as angelically advised?? ?What if Joseph had hidden his family in Lebanon instead of Egypt? ??Would salvation history have been forever altered??? Upon Jesus returning to his homeland, would his ministry have had a different impact if he had been known as Jesus of Joppa instead of Jesus of Nazareth? We will never know, for the choices were made, doors opened and options closed.? It?s amazing how much was hanging on the choices people made ? on their decisions that very easily could have headed things in a different direction.

They did have the freedom of choice.? Our theme today is ?sacred doing? and we are basically faced with a faith question.? What are we going to ?DO? with Christmas ? what are we going to ?do? with the sacred time, sacred people, sacred space, sacred knowing and sacred being that we have considered during this Advent-Christmas season?? We have received a divine gift ? the love of God come to us in the life of Jesus of Nazareth ? and we are now bearers of that gift.? We have the opportunity to become the hands of God and to fold those hands in prayer and to open those hands to become a means of blessing for others.? In the event of Christmas ? by faith ? we are blessed to be a blessing.? We are blessed to be a blessing by sharing all that is sacred in sacred doing ? it is our choice.? What if we just gave thanks that Christmas was over?? What if we didn?t do anything with all that the Advent-Christmas season has spoken to us?? What if we just put it all away with the decorations and wrapping paper and all that stuff until next year?? What is the meaning of it all if don?t do something with it ? and do something sacred like share it?? Share it by talking to someone about the place of the spiritual in our lives as individuals or as a community of faith? ?Share it by putting our hands and hearts to work together?? Use our hands to do God?s sacred work in our community and in the world in which we live.

We do have a choice about what we will do with Christmas ? may it be sacred doing and may this be our blessing:

May all that is Holy, Just and Compassionate bless the work of our hands:

Hands that will touch life and nurture creativity;

Hands that will hold pain and embrace passion;

Hands that will nurture growth and clench in righteous anger;

Hands that will wipe away tears and clap in celebration;

Hands that are wrinkled and scarred from doing justice;

Hands that will reach out and be drawn in;

Hands that hold the promise of a future filled with hope;

May God bless all the work of our hands, so that in all our sacred doing

Our hands become the hands of Love.?

So be it!?Amen!