Potsdam United Methodist Church
Where we let Jesus shine! Where we invite, love and nurture ALL!
Sunday Worship
11:00am Service
Pastor Heidi R. Chamberlain
Information info@potsdamumc.org

Our Visit To Bethlehem

Listen to the Sermon or the Entire Service

December 24:

Text:    Luke 2: 1-20
Prophets:   Micah 5:2;     Isaiah 9: 2, 6-7;    Isaiah 52: 7-9
Response:   John 1: 1-14
Prayer:  W&S # 7 (modified)

         Our Visit To Bethlehem

Oooooooh,    little town of Bethlehem
How still we picture, we envision, and we see   thee lie
As your people rest and as your people sleep
And as the silent stars go by.

But too, we picture and envision
Darkness defeated by the everlasting light
As the hopes and the fears met in thee
that wonderful,   that glorious night.

[addressing congregation]
You and I have the Bethlehem of that night
pictured in our minds.

And you and I would love to have been there
   That we might have been    and that we might be
      Witnesses to the event.

If we could visit Bethlehem
     We would see the stable and
     We would observe people crowded together among the animals.

If we could visit Bethlehem
We would see and we would hear   the angels
and our eyes would open wide with awe.
If we could visit Bethlehem
We would notice the shepherds and
We would share both
their confusion
and their fascination with what was going on.

If we could visit Bethlehem
   We would be uncertain what as to what to bring
   And uncertain as to what to say or what to sing

In amongst that uncertainty
we would    peek into the manger to see the baby

But you know what,
   I think we might be  at least a bit disappointed
      For I suspect our reaction would be
That he does not look like a king
      And   that he is certainly not clothed like a king.

      To the contrary, he would look a lot like    one of us
         (although he may have more hair than some of us)

If the kid is so special that the angels sing
   Why does he seem so ordinary - so much like us?

In fact, in the three month period
from the 3rd of November through the 26th of January
six children have been or will be baptized
   right here in this sanctuary

and all six will have
been  dressed better and   looked more royal
than the newborn in the Bethlehem manger.

But this king came to be one of us
This king came to show us that we can be like him
And thus, it is this very ordinariness of the baby
   That is the lesson of the manger

It is this humble beginning in a stable in a small town
   That foreshadows his life, his teachings, his death.

For despite our being called to observe him
And to see him as a sign
   That we might live in peace and harmony
God made sure that everything  we would see on our visit
   Would be humble and simple - not grand and ostentatious.

That is why this child was born
   Not in a palace or a temple
That is why this child was born
   Not in a large commercial or political metropolis
That is why this child was born
   Not into a wealthy or powerful family

But in a stable
in a small town
and into a family of a carpenter and his young fiancée.

On this night
   You and I celebrate that birth
in a large, impressive building
that is well kept and well decorated

   You and I celebrate with organ and voice
      and with candles on a brass ring

These are great ways to celebrate
   I look forward each year to celebrating like this
But as we celebrate
   We need to remember
      You need to remember
   And   I need to remember

that this was a humble birth
   And that this birth and our visit teach us the lesson of humility

And we have to understand
that that birth and that lesson
Are far more important
   Than any fancy celebration - even one celebrating the birth

And so as we continue to celebrate throughout this next year
   We need to be conscious
that Bethlehem is not just a place to visit
      But rather an instruction that shows us a way to live

We cannot visit Bethlehem
But what we can      we'll do
We'll say to Christ
   "I love you.
   I'll give my life to you."