The Rev. Josephine Robertson
All Saints, Bellevue
12/24/2019, Christmas Eve
One of my favorite books of poetry begins…
If you are a dreamer, come in.
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer . . .
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire,
For we have some flax golden tales to spin.
Come in! (Shel Silverstein)
In a scruffy little frontier town on the edge of the Roman Empire livestock looked up in the dark of night at a frightened young woman in labor and their bodies, moving away from their manger full of good hay said: come in!
On the empty hillside outside that scruffy town the light of heaven spilled across the rocky soil dotted with sleeping sheep; and angelic voices sang to terrified shepherds: come in!
We stand at the threshold of the heaven. Warm light spills out over the lintel, through the open door and a voice we know calls out: Come in! No matter who you are, child, come in!
Tonight is a strange night, a magical night, a doorway, a mystery.
Tonight God opens the door and calls out: come in!
Tonight God steps over the open doorway of the world and comes in; a tiny helpless baby laid in a feeding trough because it was all his parents could manage.
And the shepherds, as you might have heard a thousand times by now, were just ordinary folk, doing their job. They weren’t particularly holy, or particularly good. They were invited in.
And in another Gospel, in another time Mary opened a door to strangers from far away lands and said to them: Come in!
Jesus, that baby laying on a donkey’s dinner will spend his life inviting strangers in. He will call out to fisherman, tax collectors, prostitutes, religious scholars, lepers, soldiers, foreigners, the sick, the disabled, the possessed. He will call out: Come in!
Tonight God opens the door, and calls out invitation.
To the practical realist: come in!
To the geek: come in!
To the dreamer, the mystic, the starry eyed poet: come in!
To the busy, and the stressed, to the worried and the frantic: come in!
Come in, and sit down here where everyone is welcome. Where angels speak to ordinary folk, where God becomes human in the normal way with tears and blood and joy and exhaustion.
Luke’s story of Jesus’ birth is the story of ordinary people, becoming the hands and feet of God in the world. None of them were perfect, and neither do we have to be. None of them were brave, or God would not have said so frequently: don’t be afraid.
The world has not changed much since that scruffy town at the outer edges of the Roman Empire. Our world still has more use for the productive than the dreamer. It scoffs at hope, and rolls its eyes at wishes. The inn doors are still closed to desperate young families, and welcome is still found in the most unexpected plates.
And tonight, all of those imperfect, ordinary people gathered around a manger in a dark little stable hold open the gate. All of them, who risked, and trusted call out to us:
God is with us, whoever you are, come in!