Sermons
Worship Service begins at 10:30 AM
Third & Adams Street, PO Box 9774, Moscow, Idaho USA | (208) 882-3715

Proclaim Love - December 24, 2017

Luke 2:1-7

There are lots of things we could look for in this story and we could imagine all sorts of details to bring this story to life.
We could imagine Mary sick as a dog for those first few months.
We can imagine her young and fearful, anxious about becoming a mother. Visiting her cousin for comfort and support.
We can barely imagine her daring to ride a donkey 9 months pregnant for 97 miles from

Nazareth to Bethlehem.
And when we imagine her, we begin to see a real person—tired and sore and uncomfortable in those final weeks, thinking Bethlehem could NOT come soon enough on that long road.
We could imagine her labor pains—the breathing, the exhaustion, and then holding her precious son for the first time.
We can imagine all of that—any of that—and what sticks—what matters most is that little boy was born there in Bethlehem out among the animals because all the guest rooms were full.

It's fairly banal in terms of birth stories. I'm sure lots of folks here could tell a birth story far more interesting and impressive than that. But here we have the guy who would be God's savior for all people and all that happened was his parents traveled over 90 miles for a census and then he was born. Big whoop. Except that we know he's the Son of God—God in the flesh—Emmanuel—and one would think that kid would have something unbelievable happen.

Instead, we get this—plain and boring in terms of birth stories. Think about it. Here's God in the flesh—vulnerable, needy, and frail. Subject to the best and worst a parent could offer; and God says that is the embodiment of love—in fact, the definition of it—vulnerable, dependent, and weak. Love takes shape in humility and simplicity. Something we nearly all-together forget when we're getting ready for Christmas—polishing silver, perfecting recipes, cleaning, shipping, spending, wrapping, and stressing out. All for the sake of love. We hope for everything to be just right, but love breaks through most easily when it's all falling apart.

Ultimately, for Mary, there invariably was fatigue and fear, contractions, deep breathing, and shouts of pain, for the story is real and these people are real. And yet one of the great powers in the lack of detail and the ordinariness of this story is the way it connects to each of us. At the end of the day, you could boil most of our birth stories down to "the mom (and her partner, helper, friend, or parent) went to a place when the baby was a to be born—and the baby was born." Plain and simple, which allows Jesus' story to touch ours. If it were fantastic and unbelievable—it would stay out there in the realm of greatness where most of us were not born.

Instead, Jesus' story meets ours in the ordinary, the simple, and the mundane. And I don't know about you, but for me, that is constantly good news. I don't have to go looking for God on mountain tops. I can find God in spilled milk, sibling wars, broken dishes, unwrapped presents, forgotten items, illness, broken hearts, and missed flights. God is there in all of it. And we know that God is willing to come to those places because his first appearance was in some small town, amidst animals, hay and feeding troughs, to two ordinary people.
Love breaks through in the simple things and when things are falling apart. When things don't go as you planned when you're facing doctors and hospitals instead of celebrations and family feasts. Love breaks through when grief defeats your attempts at joy. Love breaks through when the laundry has piled up or your pie has burned. Love breaks through when your kids are at each other's throats or when you're at your spouse's. Love breaks through simple moments and chaotic ones. Love breaks through into the simple things of everyday life.
And that's the good news of Christmas....not just this day, but every day....that love breaks through, that God comes close not when we have it all right, but when nothing special is happening and when everything awful is colliding. God is here to love us, to care for us, to reach out to us.

Current Church News

  • Christmas Eve Services - Dec 24, 2018

    4:00 PM Family Christmas Eve. This service is especially designed for wiggly, giggly children and is intentionally kept shorter. It will include music by Children's bell choir and leadership from children.

    7:00 PM Traditional Christmas Eve. This service includes music from Choir and Bell Choirs, plus Holy Communion and the Candlelight Ceremony. Child care is provided.

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Sunday morning parking at the church is available in the high school parking lot on Third Street across from the church and in the city lots west of the church. These lots are available only on Sunday mornings. A small lot for handicapped parking is available just off of Adams Street on the north side of the church, with an accessible entrance directly into the sanctuary. A lift operates between the Fellowship Hall (3rd Street level) and the Sanctuary . William Sound System Receivers and Headsets are available to assist with hearing problems.

Church Mission

The First United Methodist Church of Moscow, Idaho takes as our mission to be the body of Jesus Christ, ministering to a community which draws strength from its diversity. Our mission centers on the worship of God, expressed through varied forms of prayer, preaching, music, and ritual.  See more...