Delivered at Ames UCC
©The Rev. Eileen Gebbie
Although I am supposed to speak about Jesus tonight, what I really want to do is speak about you.
Not because the story of the birth of Jesus is unimportant, but because the story is also about how you are important.
This story of census and unplanned pregnancy and doing the right thing and giving birth and angels and herdsmen is an offer of faith from long ago to you this night, an offering about holiness for you.
An offering about the little bit of holiness within you.
This may feel surprising to some of you, even uncomfortable, the notion that you—we—are not only observers of the story, caretakers of its sacred heart, but a small revelation of that heart, too.
That’s probably because most of us here have a pretty poor assessment of humanity. There is no shortage of evidence that we humans are bad. Bad at our care of ourselves, each other, creation. And if we didn’t feel that already, the public square is full of messages about our badness: too fat, too poor, to black, too foreign. Bad.
And then some of us came up in churches that taught about our badness. Some churches teach that humans are born into sin, and “original sin” that has been bequeathed to every single person born in the world by ancestors ancient and fallible.
But there is another perspective. There is another view from which we may assess ourselves, each other, and creation, a way ancient and faithful to our God of humble births. It is the Celtic Christian notion of “original blessing.”