The Rev’d Carlos de la Torre
Christ Church, New Haven, Conn.
Christmas Day
December 25, 2018

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Merry Christmas!


This morning, we hear not the story of how shepherds in a field received a message from an angel that a Savior, wrapped in bands of cloths was born in Bethlehem. That wonderful story retold in hymns and songs, depicted in art and paintings, and, of course, proclaimed on national television every year in A Charlie Brown Christmas.


An essential Christmas staple in my home, along with my own Charlie Brown Christmas tree.


No, today we hear the story of the Word made flesh, which is, in fact, one with the story we hear in Saint Luke’s Gospel. However, while Saint Luke shares with us who Jesus is and what he will do, Saint John in his prologue answers an otherwise unanswered question:


How did this action of God in human history take place?[1]


Saint John appeals for us to understand the birth of Christ not only as a scene in a manger, but as an act predestined, pre-formed, for all creation. The birth of Jesus, the Word made flesh, is rooted in God’s constant desire from the story of creation in Genesis to Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem to this the 25th day of December 2018, God’s constant desire to show us his love. To show us how great and vast a treasure is God’s love for us and for the world.


While Saint John dives deep into the how this day came to be, what lies at the extremity of Saint John’s question is love: God’s love.


A love made known to us not merely in thought or romantic idealism, but in a person, Jesus, born this day in Bethlehem of Judea. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.


I’m not sure what time your Christmas Day began this morning, but maybe like my own, it began roughly around 7am. And maybe you too stumbled upon the Today Show this morning and their Christmas Day special featuring the Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry.


As always, he was asked something about the Royal Wedding and the Royal Family. However, at just the right time he shared with show’s hosts and with millions of people watching at home these words:


“The truth is, if love is just a sentiment then it doesn't matter. But love is a commitment and one of the passages that speaks about Christmas is John 3:16 [For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life] It speaks about the crucifixion of Jesus but it also speaks about Christmas, 'God so loved the world that he gave his only son.' It is love which is tied to giving, not taking. Giving. We give gifts as a symbolic way of reminding us that God showed us the way of love, which is to give and not to count the cost.”[2]


For Christians, the love of God, which is the source of all love, is not an idealism but a reality. A reality made flesh in the person of Jesus. The person we have come here to adore, the person we sing hymns for and about this Christmas season and every Sunday for the last two thousand years, the person we are invited to receive in Holy Communion.


In seeking to answer how this has taken place, Saint John ends his prologue with the affirmation that we and all creation have seen the glory of God which is full of grace and truth. As we celebrate this glorious day, whether with presents and great food and in prayer and song, I invite you to seek and see God’s love in and among you. Behold God’s Son, behold God’s love, it has been revealed to us and all creation this day and forevermore.


Glory be to God on high. May you have joyous and a very Merry Christmas!



[1] Moloney, F. J. (2005). The Gospel of John (D. J. Harrington, Ed.). Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press. 34.

[2] CORRECTION | The quote is from CBS This Morning |