There is no world in which a normal Christmas scripture would be this one from Ephesians. We know our Christmas story. But being able maybe there’s a reason to remember Christmas, even on this day in July! And if you’re thrown off by the weather, don’t forget that in half the world, December 25th is in the middle of their summer. And for those along the equator, it’s basically always summer!

We come to this time and this moment remembering that God came to Earth to live among us, came in flesh and blood, atoms and neurons, hair and toenails. Came to earth in the joy and pain, hope and fear that come with birth, and growing up, and living. The letter writer reminds us that while Jesus ascended, first Jesus experienced the lows, the darkness, the grief of life. And yet, in Jesus, we have the example, the embodiment, God’s plan of love in action, that set our course, our plan, our foundation, the head.

We are the church, the body of Christ, the plan enacted over generations. Each one of us who makes up the body of Christ, we have gifts, we have been given gifts, talents, capabilities, resources that support the whole, that support the plan, the mission, the community. We each have our part. The shepherds have sheep and a network and a community to share what they learned with. The magi had wealth, knowledge, ability to travel, and their far-off community to share the story of this child with. The little drummer boy had a drum and time to bother the tired mother.

We offer, we bring what we have to the whole. We do all things in light of the plan of love, we do all things in the love of Christ, revealed in Jesus, who is God with us. We serve each other and the world in the love that we have been given, that has been taught to us in Christ. The body of Christ, made of us, grows with love.

It matters that we love, how we love. It matters that we live the love we have been given.

Theologian Howard Thurman wrote:

When the song of the angels is stilled,

when the star in the sky is gone,

when the kings and princes are home,

when the shepherds are back with their flocks,

the work of Christmas begins:

to find the lost,

to heal the broken,

to feed the hungry,

to release the prisoner,

to rebuild the nations,

to bring peace among the people,

to make music in the heart.

So we remember Christmas today, because we know the reason is love, and the call is love, and the gift is love, and the growth is in love. We are about love in action that resembles Christ, that offers mercy and justice, to make music in the heart. Merry Christmas, church.