A Christmas Sermon from Toronto
We wish all a Merry Christmas with Pastor Simon Kangas Larsen Christmas Eve Sermon held in the Danish Church in Toronto:
Some stories will never die. They are universal, and we tell them again and again, and even if it can seem nothing new has happened, the story needs to be told again. People come from away, go through the dusk and gather on pews next to each other in the dark and are waiting to experience the story one more time. It is a story about stars. And about good and evil in an endless battle. The dark sides against the bright. And in the middle of it all, a son is fighting for justice for all people.
What story is it I am talking about? What story is it that will never die, and will be repeated year after year? What story is about a star?
Of course: The Star Wars!
Again, this Christmas, we can go to the movies and see yet another new, long film where the bad and good people - and robots and fantasy-animals and stormtroopers are fighting for the power in a galaxy far, far away.
I am not a big Star Wars fan. In fact, it is several years since I last time saw one of the movies, but as I understand it, the basic story is the same: Fight for justice and that the power should belong to the good people instead of the evil, dark side. And may the force be with you - as they say.
Another story that never will die and that we repeat over and over again is The Gospel of Christmas we have heard today in both Danish and English.
That is also a story that needs to be told, again and again, year after year. It is also a story about a star. And even if we know what is going to happen with Mary, Joseph, the shepherds, angels and, of course, the baby-boy Jesus - we need to hear the story - otherwise, they can't be Christmas.
We need to gather with the people we love, and go through the dusk and gather on pews here in the church next to each other and one more time hear the gospel of Christmas.
Like in Star Wars, a star is playing an important role - the story of the son of God born and laid in a manger in the City of Bethlehem has an inter galaxy dimension. It is a story for the universe, for all nations, for all times – and for you and me.
But there is a very big and important difference: When Star Wars is taking place in a galaxy far, far away, the story of Jesus born Christmas night is taking place in the middle of our life.
It is NOT a fantasy novel. It is NOT fiction. It is real - and it is for you and me, Jesus is fighting the Dark side in our lives and in this world. That's why we are celebrating Christmas.
Back to the cinema: One of the main reasons that the Star Wars movies continue to fascinate, having countless fans, and that the people behind them continue producing new films, is because we like the entertainment - and Disney can earn money. But also because Star Wars is a universe with many dimensions that tell something fundamental about our life together.
You can say the same about the messages of Christmas and all the other stories we have in our Bible about Jesus: The messages of hope He is revealing; the wonders he has been doing in healing and helping people and the word of love he shares among nations.
Where the goal of Star Wars is entertainment, the purpose of Jesus is to make our life with each other better; to make the world a better place. Or said with the words from the powerful old-testament text we read at the beginning of the service: "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light. They lived in a land of shadows, but now the light is shining on them."
Jesus is that light – and we are those people! Jesus is the force that fights the dark in the world. In Star Wars, you can fight the evil with a lightsaber. But the evil - the dark - in our lives can not be fought in that way. What could we use instead?
Baby Jesus in a manger – the most vulnerable. But also the most powerful because it is God coming to us – in that we can have faith and hope.
The darkness in our life is often because of worries for the future or lost in the past. When the greater meaning of life is out of sight; When you see how the world is burning, the seas are rising, wars are raging, and people are starving and fleeing. Or when relations have been broken: We have lost one we loved, some passed away. A chair, a bedside or a spot around the Christmas tree is empty, and some are missing. When it is Christmas, the worries and the broken relations can be even more visible, and the darkness feels stronger. But the stronger the darkness and evil are - the brighter is the light of Christmas is shining.
God is not a God reigning in a Galaxy far, far away. No! Christmas, reminds us, that He breaks the boundaries and is coming to earth. Into our world, and we must believe that with him, the light is coming to the world - the eternal light of faith, hope and love.
He is not coming as a warrior with a lightsaber in hand. No - he comes as the exact opposite. A little vulnerable child, born in a grotto and laid in a manger, for there was no room for them in the inn.
He is the "Mighty God," the "Prince of Peace." and He wants us to let Him into our hearts so that the joy of Christmas can be for all nations - and for the people – for you and me.
May the force of the Christmas light of be with you - and shine into your heart; so, your heart can shine on the world around you. Merry Christmas. Glædelig Jul. Amen.