Welcome to St. John’s.
Whether you are a regular, or this is your first time through our doors, you are welcome.
Whether this is the best time, or the worst time of year for you, you are welcome.
Whether you have come out of a sense of adoration, or obligation, you are welcome.
Whether you have it mostly together, or your life is kind of messy right now, you are welcome.
Whether you are rich or poor, old or young, a local or a tourist; wherever you come from; whatever your situation; whoever you are, you are welcome in this place as we gather round the manger.
Those who gathered at the very first Nativity were a mixed bunch too: some rough-sleeping labourers, a few well-off foreign visitors, a weary couple from nowhere particularly important, and an assortment of barnyard animals.
You are in good company here.
That is the beauty of the Incarnation – it is a welcome for all; God choosing to dwell with us is for everyone. God came into the world – greets and meets us – first as a tiny baby, and babies do not judge, they do not discriminate.
As we gather, I hope that you feel yourself soften as you lookinto the face of Jesus. Know that wherever you come from that this holy infant will wrap his tiny hand around your finger. Know that whatever your situation that our Lord and Saviour will spit up on your shoulder. Know that whoever you are that Love Incarnate will be rocked to sleep in your arms.
I pray that you feel welcomed into the great wonder and mystery of Christmas today. I pray that you feel the welcome of God, who loves you so very much, who, out of that love, chose to dwell among us – our Emmanuel.
Thanks be to God!