The grace of God has appeared, saving all
and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires
and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age,
as we await the blessed hope,
the appearance of the glory of our great God
and savior Jesus Christ
Today we celebrate the ultimate encounter. Here we meet God. It couldnâ€™t be any better. Nothing could be more amazing than this night in which all of Godâ€™s promises were fulfilled. It happened in this moment, in this manger, on this night.
Paul, writing to the early Church, summarizes what everyone knew pretty much first hand. He recalls the flash of Jesusâ€™ glorious appearance. He recalls the beginning of transformation â€“ Jesus brought opportunity for change, newness, and freedom. Paul helps his readers to see that the opportunity still lives. My brothers and sisters, it lives here today. Approach the manger, see it and enter into new life today.
Grace has come to earth, and it lays here today, ready to be picked up, ready to be accessed and used for a new way of living. As this passage is read in churches around the world, we not only remember an opportunity once given; we take up that chance once again in hopeful preparation for Jesusâ€™ return in glory.
We have nothing but opportunity; a chance to reject the curriculum, the teaching of the world, the non-opportunity of death. Embracing the Christ childâ€™s opportunity for change, newness, and freedom we turn from that which is false, old, and binding. By Christâ€™s birth, God gives us Divine opportunity to live new lives.
People of God, people filled with love for the newborn Babe, our ship has come in. Our chance is here. Let us link our lives together and with all who see the opportunity of Godâ€™s grace â€“ opportunity for change, newness, and freedom â€“ joy.