Something old, something new…

Christmas Day Message – 25th December 2017

There is an old rhyme often quoted in reference to a bride on her wedding day

–         The tradition is to give the bride…

–         Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

Something old represents continuity with the past

–         Something new speaks of change and making a fresh start

–         Something borrowed represents the joy or energy we borrow from hope

–         And something blue stands for purity, love, and fidelity

This saying: Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue, seems to sum up the Christmas story

 

Now when we talk about something old we mean something valuable that lasts, something with history, like a family heirloom

–         For example, a bride on her wedding day may receive a piece of jewellery from her mother which has been handed down through the generations

–         To receive something old is to be trusted with something priceless

–         It is not old in the sense of being broken down or obsolete

–         It’s old in the sense of being original and resilient

Something old is seen in the opening verses of John’s gospel, where John writes: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.

Jesus is the Word of God

–         He has always been with God even before time existed

–         So Jesus, the Word of God, is very old indeed

–         But not old in a broken down or out of date kind of way

–         Old in the best sense of that word

–         Jesus is the original word of God, he has history from the beginning

–         He is timeless, classic, tried & true – his oldness speaks of his resilience and priceless value

John’s gospel was written in Greek and the Greeks have at least two ways of expressing the term Word

–         Rhema (as in Radio Rhema) which refers to the spoken word

–         And Logos (from which we get the term logic) which refers to the unspoken word, the thought in one’s mind before it is spoken

John uses the term Logos to describe Jesus

–         Jesus is the logic of God – the inner word of God

–         Or to put it another way, Jesus shows us how God thinks – with grace & truth

 

As well as being something old, Jesus also brings something new   

–         In fact, Jesus came to make all things new

Most of you would have received something new for Christmas

–         Perhaps a new cell phone or a bicycle or a new dress or a pair of socks, which is fine, we need to replace stuff like that from time to time

–         But those kinds of new commodities soon wear out, they lose their shine, become obsolete and have to be replaced by something else new

–         The kind of newness that Jesus brings is a lasting newness – it’s not a newness that loses its gloss or has to be replaced again next Christmas

John 1, verse 4 reads…

–         In him was life and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.

Light and life go together

–         Light is the foundation of life – light sustains life, it keeps things alive

–         John is saying that Jesus is the source of life & light – Jesus has the power to sustain eternal life

–         So the newness Jesus brings does not wear out or become obsolete

If light & life go together then it follows that darkness relates to death

–         There is a shadow side to Christmas and the shadow is cast by death

–         For some reason (at this time of year) we are often more aware of what we don’t have

–         We feel more sharply the loss of those we love who have died and so Christmas is tinged with sadness

–         The light of Jesus’ life is stronger than the darkness of death

–         The newness that Jesus brings is a lasting newness, it won’t die

–         When God’s kingdom is realised in its fullness there will be no more tears, no more sorrow, no more death

 

Something old, something new, something borrowed…

–         The something borrowed, for a bride, is happiness or joy

–         Joy is an energy, a power, a force which comes from hope

–         Hope is like the wind – you can’t own the wind but you can borrow its energy

Or to use another analogy, hope is like a wave on the ocean – you can’t own a wave but you can borrow its energy to ride the wave, like a surfer

–         Joy is that positive energy borrowed from the wave of hope

–         We can’t own hope but we can ride it

–         Newlyweds borrow joy & happiness from their hope for the future, riding that hope like a surfer rides a wave

Like any powerful force hope can be dangerous

–         If we get hope wrong – if we misplace our hope (put all our hope in the wrong things) then it can crush us and leave us in the pit of despair

In Luke chapter 2 an angel appears to some shepherds as they watch their flocks by night. The angel says to the shepherds…

–         Do not be afraid. [Don’t be anxious.] I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger. 

Jesus embodies the hope of salvation for all people and the shepherds rode the wave of that hope – they couldn’t contain their joy, spreading the good news that the Saviour of the world was born

There is so much anxiety and depression in our society today

–         Most of us don’t really want stuff for Christmas

–         We just want to be free of worry – to be happy, to enjoy life

–         We want to know that our kids are going to be okay

–         We want to know that our parents are going to be okay

–         We want to know that we are going to be okay

–         What we really want are those things that can’t be bought with money, things like peace & joy

–         In Jesus we find a hope that can be relied on – and from that hope we borrow the positive energy of joy to carry us through

 

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

–         Blue stands for purity, love and fidelity

–         Fidelity is a word that means faithfulness or loyalty

–         You give a bride something blue as a symbol of the pure and faithful love between a husband & wife

 

The Christmas story is a story of purity, love and fidelity

–         Mary, the mother of Jesus was the picture of purity – she was a virgin and she conceived Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit

–         Joseph, the fiancé of Mary (and a step father to Jesus) was the picture of fidelity – when he discovered that Mary was pregnant he decided to break off the engagement quietly so as not to embarrass her

–         But when an angel appeared to him in a dream explaining the situation he stuck by Mary and married her, such was his loyal love for Mary & God

 

Mary & Joseph bring something blue – a pure and faithful love

–         The quality of Mary & Joseph’s relationship points to the faithfulness & purity of God’s love for us in Christ

 

Christmas is a time to celebrate the gift of God’s Son, Jesus

–         With the gift of Jesus comes something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue

 

Let us pray

–         I will pray the words in the plain type and I invite you to respond with the words in bold italics

Jesus, you are the logic of God, older than time itself. You are the most worthy, the most valuable, the most priceless gift of all…

–         Help us to receive and honour you

Jesus, you came to make all things new. In you is the light of life, more powerful than the darkness of death…

–         Fill us with the life of your Spirit

Jesus, you are our hope of salvation. Forgive us for the times when we misplace our hope. Save us from anxiety and despair…

–         Carry us in your peace & joy 

Jesus, you embody the love of God, faithful & pure. You are committed to the well-being of all creation with a goodness beyond compare…

–          Make us loyal to you Jesus. Amen.

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