Worship Wilson – December 22, 2022

What Makes Christmas Special

by Rev. Sherard Edington


(The following is Sherard’s Worship Wilson column for the Wilson Post published on December 22, 2022.)

One year ago, on December 11, a pre-dawn tornado ripped through Mt. Juliet damaging over 100 homes. The Mt. Juliet Christmas parade scheduled for that day had to be postponed to the following week.

My friend Jim lives in Mt. Juliet in Willoughby Station, a neighborhood which took the brunt of the storm. Jim’s property suffered significant damage. However, that day, after the storm passed through, Jim was surprised to see his ex-wife and her husband at his house offering to help with the cleanup.

Jim and his ex have two children together and since their divorce have always worked to maintain an amicable relationship. The kids are now grown and out of the house and although Jim gets along with his former spouse, he was still stunned when she showed up. “It’s Christmas,” she explained.

In three days, Christians around the world will celebrate one of the holiest days of the year. To an outsider, it would appear as if all we are celebrating is the birth of a baby—a birth that took place 2000 years ago.

But Christmas is more than that. At Christmas, we celebrate that our God, the Creator, came to us and became one of us in order to live with us and direct us back on the path to salvation. God came to invite us into God’s kingdom.

God’s kingdom is not simply another place; it is a new reality. It is a reality ruled by peace and compassion, by justice and love. It is a reality where every life fulfills God’s will.

The prophet Isaiah describes this kingdom as a reality where the wolf shall live with the lamb, where those we assume to be adversaries live in harmony with one another, where God is the priority of every being. In this reality, nations will not go to war, suffering shall cease, and broken relationships shall mend.

The birth of Christ calls us to see beyond the despair of this life and into the glorious possibilities of what might be.

That is what we celebrate at Christmas. That is what we hold dear.

One last thing: On Christmas Eve, I would like to invite all of you to join me for worship at First Presbyterian Church in Lebanon (304 West Main). Our service starts at 7:00 p.m. and is a traditional service of carols and scripture readings which recount the Christmas story. In addition to our church choir, we have an outstanding soloist coming from Nashville. She will sing, among other things, the timeless carol O Holy Night.

We will close our service sharing the light of Christ with one another as we light candles and sing Silent Night. It is a beautiful and moving Christmas experience. I truly hope you will join us. For more information go to www.fpclebanon.org.

Merry Christmas.

Sherard Edington has served as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Lebanon for 11 years. Worship Wilson is a weekly column written by pastors and people of faith.