Sermon – 12-24-21 – Christmas Eve
Scripture: Isaiah 62:6-12; Psalm 97; Titus 3:4-7; Luke 2:1-20
Sermon Title: Meet Gray Mouse
Hello good friends! My name is Gray Mouse. Pretty appropriate, don’t you agree? Well, I am not a special mouse, just an ordinary mouse. My goals in life are to stay warm and to find enough food. I mostly eat grain and vegetables. I like to be outside in warm months, but in cold months I need to find a warm place.
That is how I came to be in this certain stable one cold, winter night. It is warmer than I expected. I don’t see any fire so I wonder why it is warm. Oh, there is a cow, a sheep. I see two chickens – a hen and a rooster, and in the corner I hear a pig! After scurrying around each of these animals, I decide that I will try cozying up to the pig who is lying on her side. I sneak close to her back and since this pig has not moved, I press my little body against the pig’s back. Oh, I say to myself, this is heaven!
Little did I know that heaven will become the word of this night! I feel myself falling asleep. What a wonderful feeling! All is well in this stable. I slip into a deep sleep. I would not trade my life for any other.
Something wakes me. I reluctantly open my eyes. I see the moon in the sky glowing through the little window high in the side of the stable. Now I hear a donkey bray. Can you imitate a donkey braying? Can you make a donkey noise? Thank you! Well, I did not see a donkey when I came in. Why would a donkey be arriving now?
Now I hear a man’s voice – a very gentle but concerned voice. Now I hear some soft moaning. Which animal is moaning? Oh! It is a lady. Why is she moaning? The moaning comes and goes. The man finds a soft area of hay and helps the lady to lie in it. By now all of the animals are awake and gently stirring. This is not a normal night. No-o-o-o indeed! Why would people be coming to this stable in the middle of a moon-lit night. There are inns in town for people.
This question was answered later. But now we suddenly hear a baby cry. A baby! A human baby in an animal stable. Thank goodness this stable had been cleaned during the day. Each animal has clean straw for a bed and clean hay to eat. It smells fresh.
There is something else about this night. Do you remember that I said it felt like heaven to snuggle against the back of pig in the clean straw? Well, now everything seems unreal in this place. It is not only me. Each animal seems to be lifted to its feet and we are drawn toward the sleeping baby. We, who are animals, find ourselves worshiping this baby. Yes, this is a holy baby, else why would we feel this way?
Just when we think things can’t get any more strange, some shepherds burst in the door. I think to myself, “Why are shepherds bursting into this holy scene?” And on top of that thought, I think, “Well we can forget the clean smell. Shepherds are known to smell like they skipped their Saturday night bath.” But before I finish that thought, I forget about the smell part. These shepherds were not acting like the shy people they seem to be. These shepherds have a story to tell. It is bursting from their mouths. “Do you know what just happened to us?” they say. They don’t shout. They speak in very loud whispers – like they are in awe of the baby around whom they gather. They can’t decide if they should kneel first or tell their story first. So they do some of each – some kneel, while others tell about angels.
These angels were not vague figures. No! While the shepherds were eating their stew and waiting for the sheep to settle for the night, one angel appeared and told them about this very baby who is being born at this very moment in Bethlehem. No ordinary baby this! This baby shall be the shepherd’s Savior.
Truth be told, the shepherds did not know they needed a Savior. But after the glorious spectacle of a great cluster of singing angels in the sky where only stars had been, the shepherds were mighty curious about this Savior baby. They simultaneously decided among themselves to make the trek from the hills around Bethlehem to worship this baby – this calmly sleeping baby – who is sent to earth to save us from our sins so that we will meet Jesus in heaven when our life on earth is over. You see, this baby is Jesus who will become a man long enough to show his great love for us. Then Jesus will be swept up into heaven.
Since I was so small I crept along the feeding trough – the manger of hay where the baby lay – to see if there was anything special about this baby that a mouse could detect. I could see nothing, but I could feel everything. This baby brought with him a sense of peace and awe. This night is like no other night that ever was or that ever will be. This baby is God himself come to earth to invite us to believe and to share this gift with everyone we meet just like the shepherds did as they returned to their fields, waking everyone on the way in the town and in the country.
I invite you to be part of this great night. Will you and I believe and will we share? Bye now!