Friday, 21 December 2012

A Christmas Presentation with Gloves

Photo from
[Hold up a black glove.]
Consider this glove. It didn’t just appear out of nowhere. At a given point in time, people made it. They got hold of all the raw materials and wove them together to form it.

This glove looks like a hand, (it's made in the image of a hand), but it can’t do anything that my hand can do, it can’t shake my hand, or pick up a cup or even punch me in the face. It’s pathetic! However, if my hand enters the glove, [Put black glove on left hand] then the glove becomes able to do all those things, it can pick up a mug, shake a hand or punch me in the face. Although I'm not going to do that because I am incredibly strong and could knock myself out!

Now the story of this black glove is very similar to how the Bible says God made human beings. Just as a bunch of people in a factory somewhere got raw materials together and weaved them into this hand-shaped garment, so the God who is a loving community of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, took the raw materials of the earth and formed them into a human being.

But like the glove, this human being was a lifeless corpse, until the Lord God breathed life into it, giving it a soul and making it alive and able to do all the things that we do now as living people talking, worshipping, working, eating, drinking, laughing, playing, showing kindness etc.

Just as the glove was made in the image of a hand, God made human beings in his image, which simply means that when he looked at us he would see something of himself looking back at him in the same way that when your parents look at you they see something of themselves staring back at them. I yawn like my dad, but when I laugh my eyes screw up like my mum.

But instead of embracing this open friendship with God we turned in on ourselves. We wanted to be god rather than love God. Instead of looking out to God and those not like us, we turned inwards to look at ourselves and those who are just like us. We have lived in the wake of that disastrous self-centred decision ever since.

Now if I was God, and the people I had made had turned their backs on me, I’d be thinking “let me blow them all up and start again.”

But the God of the Bible is not like me, this God is a perfect community of love: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So what do they do? The Father sends his Son by the power of the Holy Spirit into the world. [Put white glove on right hand] God somehow gets squeezed into a human body.

Jesus Christ was a new kind of human, he was like us - fully human and yet not like us - pure, holy - divine. Through Jesus the Son, the unknowable God made himself known. The immeasurable God became comprehensible. The eternal, immortal God, became mortal and subjected himself to a body that gets hungry, tired and suffers pain.

[Touch tips of gloved hands together] Christmas is good news because God draws near to us in the person of Jesus Christ. In the person of Jesus we can see what God thinks, what God feels, how God acts. Jesus was loving because God is loving. Jesus was humble because God is humble, Jesus was wise because God is wise. Jesus gave himself sacrificially because God is a sacrificial giver.

At that first Christmas, God in love drew near and became like us, beginning a process, which he finished at Easter, whereby we could become like him. [Put on white glove over black glove on left hand]. God drew near so that he could share all that he is and has with us. That our darkness might be swallowed up by his light, that our weakness might be swallowed up by his strength. That our mortality could be swallowed up by his immortality. That his life could become our life and that one day [interlock white-gloved hands together] he could take us by the hand and lead us to meet his Father.

This is the good news of Christmas for all those who will receive this Jesus.

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