Sunday, Christmas Day, December 25, 2022
Rev. Sela E. Finau
Yeshua, the Christ, is Among You
Scripture: Luke: 17:20 (NRSV) Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.”
Devotion: It is Christmas Day! Happy Birthday, Yeshua! Happy Birthday to Mary and Joseph. And Merry Christmas to you! I intentionally use the Hebrew name of Jesus, Yeshua, because it means Salvation from the Lord. And what better day to appropriate his name than today.
As we join others worldwide to remember and celebrate the significance and joy of this season, we surround ourselves with loved ones. Yet, on this Christmas day, on this Advent & Christmas Season, many among us may not share the same sentiments in these jolly and holy days. Some are mourning the loss of loved ones and are hurting. Some are lonely and afraid. Some are angry and lost. Some are weary, in despair, and ready to give up. Some are anxious to be discovered, to be liberated, and to be loved. Some are searching and yearning for something yet unknown. May we be mindful of those among us and around us during these Holydays Season and share Yeshua with them.
Some, like our Jewish sisters and brothers, are waiting for their Messiah to come for the 1st time. Some, like us, are waiting for the second coming of Christ. Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Ellie Wiesel told a story by Martin Buber, a Jewish Philosopher, who said to a group of Jewish and Christian theologians, “My good friends, what is the difference between you and me? Both of us, all of us believe, because we are religious, in the coming of the Messiah. You believe that the Messiah came, went back, and that you are waiting for Him for the second coming. We Jews believe He hasn’t come yet, but He will come. In other words, we are waiting. You for the second coming, we for the first coming. Let’s wait together.” After a pause, he said, “And when He will come, we will ask Him, have you been here before?” Said Buber, “I hope I will be behind Him, and I will whisper in His ear, please do not answer.”
While the story may bring smiles and laughter to many of us, the point of the message, at least for me, and I hope that you will consider it also, is that Christ’s coming for the first or second time points us not so much to a future destination, as much as it tells us to look for others among us whom we can serve as Christ, for Christ, and with Christ. So on this Yeshua day, let us give thanks to God, who has been born for us. Let us look for Yeshua – Salvation from the Lord “in the least of these” and all people we encounter daily.
Prayer: Merciful God, We give you thanks for Yeshua. Amen