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Christmas Day December 25, 2011 Light, Life, and the Incarnation The Rev. Dr. Howard J. Hess
I. Introduction. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow. The late night and early morning excitement of Christmas Eve and sunrise gift-giving has passed. We are left with the stillness of Christmas Day itself. In the stillness we read today’s beautiful Prologue from The Gospel of John. It is a wonderful portion of Scripture, singular in its depiction of Christ as The Logos, the light of the world. The first chapter of John invites us to see Christ differently than each of the other three canonical gospels. There is no birth story in John, only the Prologue followed immediately by the declarations of John the Baptist, Jesus’ baptism, and his selection of his first disciples. There is a reason why John leaves out the manger, the shepherds, the wise men, and even King Herod. This reason is integral to the way John wants to communicate the Gospel.
II. In the beginning. You see, it is not that J…
Episcopal Church of the Ascension Christmas Eve 2011Second Chances Rev. Dr. Howard J. Hess
I. Introduction. For me, Christmas is all about second chances. Jesus Christ was sent by his Father to give us a second chance -- a chance to be reborn and to live new lives filled with God’s grace. It has long been understood that Christ became one of us so that we could become one with him. There are signs of his solidarity with us throughout his life story, including the humble, ordinary circumstances into which Jesus was born. Nothing was meant to stand in the way of seeing that Jesus has always been one of us. His parents worried about their housing; they worried about how to protect him; and they worried about what the future would hold. The shepherds who were the guests at his first birthday party were among the most common of people, and the party was held in someone's stable. Understanding how Jesus came helps us comprehend why he came. God sent his son not as a ki…

Abundant Life is Messy

The Rev. Robert P. Travis4th Sunday of AdventSermon – 8:00 and 10:30amChurch of the Ascension, Knoxville TNRCL Advent 4 Year B 12/18/2011Scripture Text: 2 Samuel 7:1-11,16, Canticle 15 (Magnificat) Luke 1:46-55, Romans 16:25-27, Luke 1:26-38Sermon Text:So the disadvantage of being blessed to serve in a parishwith many gifted preachers,is that I get to start my preaching in Advent,at the very end of the season,following a particularly powerful, spirit-filled Sermon by our deacon,and to top it all off,I get to try to talk about a mystery.It strikes me as kind of messy.
How does one talk about, much less explain,a mystery?
One of the strengths of our tradition,and one that keeps us from appealing to a muchwider group of people,people who want things explained in neat easy answers,what’s different about us,is that we are apparently comfortableliving in tension,and celebrating the mysteries of faithwithout trying to explain them too much, for fearthat we might be wrong, or somehow diminish…

Light in the Darkness

The Rev. Amy MorehousDecember 11, 2011
Advent 3, Year B
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
I’ve been thinking a lot this week about promises. Advent is a time of hope, and of waiting...waiting for promises to be fulfilled.
That’s why we hear so much from the prophets during Advent - because they deliver God’s instructions, remind us of the promises we have made, and remind us that our God is a God who keeps promises. The prophet Isaiah lists some of God’s promises to his covenant people. John the Baptist repeats those promises, just as Jesus would do later in the Temple, in the Gospel of Mark.

John comes to us today as he does each Advent, comes to testify to the light. His is the voice crying out in the wilderness, telling us to make straight the way of the coming Lord. How? How are we to do that now...especially when we find ourselves in the midst of our own wilderness?

I don’t know a…