These words are taken from the Christmas Eve sermon from Pastor Fred Strickert, the ELCA missionary who serves at the English-speaking Redeemer Lutheran Church in Jerusalem. On Christmas Eve, the Arabic, German and English-speaking congregations join together at Christmas Lutheran Church in Bethlehem (below) for an international service. Pastor Fred preached this year’s sermon:
‘And so the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.’ (John 1:14) Among us in our world filled with refugees and immigrants.
The child of a refugee family finding hospitality and welcome in Bethlehem, just as the church today accepts the challenge of welcoming the stranger today. Fred Otieno, from the Church in Nairobi, recently said reflecting on his 18 hour a day, seven day a week position as camp coordinator at the Dadaab Refugee Camp, ‘God has a purpose for us being here to make a difference in the lives of these people, so we must try and help them enjoy their stay, because at the end of the day we all need one another.’
This is the message that goes out from the Bethlehem manger, “At the end of the day we all need one another.”
- Christmas is not about how much we can accumulate and horde, but about how much we can give away, sharing ith those in need.
- Christmas is not about walls that divide, security that ntimates, and policies that humiliate, but about an attitude toward life in a spirit which loves the other as our self.
- Christmas is not even about safe, romantic, idyllic tales of long ago, but it is about Christ coming into our midst, now, in the present moment.
- Christmas is about welcoming Jesus into our midst, as we welcome the least among us, as we show hospitality to the stranger, for then we may discover that we have been entertaining angels unawares, or even God’s own son.