Kahu's Mana‘o

First Sunday After Christmas
Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Rev. Kealahou C. Alika

“Mary, did you know?”

Colossians 3:12-17 & Luke 2:41-52

Christmas Day is over, but we continue to celebrate the traditional 12 days of the Christmas season. The lead-up to Christmas Day which began back in October demanded many to exert an enormous amount of physical, emotional and spiritual energy in the rush and the crush of holiday shopping and holiday preparations.

But today, we are able to pause, reflect, worship and rest in God’s presence. The psalmist reminds us that all creation praises God. And so we place ourselves in the midst of such praises to find strength to sustain in throughout the coming year.

The story of the birth of Jesus reminds us that God is present in the tangible and the ordinary – which means that we are surrounded by the holy. No need for a choir of angels. No need for a bright shining star looming in the night sky.

I realize that there are some who are dogmatic in their belief that Jesus was conceived by Mary, a young woman who was pure and without sin; that she herself was holy. That has been the teaching in some of our churches for centuries.

Any deviation from that belief was and still is tantamount to one being labeled a heretic. There are those who find great satisfaction in theological discourse – arguing about what they believe and why their interpretation of God’s word is Biblical and therefore true and why others are wrong or being misled. But often after everything is said, the question that remains for me is this: “What difference does it make?”

It was the great theologian Charlie Brown who took on the challenge of a question that was asked of him one day by his friends Lucy, Linus and others: “How many angels can dance on the heard of a pin?” or “How many angels can stand on the point of a pin?”

Variations of the question were raised over the centuries whenever questions regarding angels were raised. Charlie Brown sheepishly answered: “Three, if they’re skinny? Two, if they’re fat?” as if to ask “Who cares? What difference does it make?”

Any debate about the birth of Jesus is simply that – a debate. As for me I am inclined to welcome God’s presence in the infant Jesus in the tangible and the ordinary – in the mess of what it means to be a human being.

We are only a few days away from having celebrated Jesus’ birth and yet our reading from The Gospel According to Luke presents a Jesus who is now twelve years old. Every year Mary and Joseph made the journey to Jerusalem for the festival of the Passover. When Jesus was twelve, they went up as usual to Jerusalem. While in the city, Mary and Joseph became separated from Jesus.

At the end of the festival and a day’s journey out of the city, they looked for Jesus among their relatives and friends. He was nowhere to be found

Frantic and worried, they returned to Jerusalem. It took them three days of searching when they finally found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions.

It is said that all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. It is clear that his parents were not impressed. Mary asked rhetorically, “Child, why have you treated us like this? Look, your father and I have been searching for you in great anxiety” (Luke 2:48)

Jesus responded, “Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house?” (Luke2:49)

It is not surprising that Mary or Joseph did not understand what he said to them. It is likely that they may have talked with each other a little bit more as they returned home to Nazareth. But Luke only goes on to say that Jesus went with them and that upon arriving in Nazareth, he was obedient to them.

His mother, Mary, treasured all of what was said that day. We also know in the years to follow she would come to treasure and ponder much, much more.

I caught a portion of the PBS broadcast of Christmas at Belmont late Christmas Eve. Over 700 students and musicians at the Belmont University School of Music in Nashville, Tennessee and members of the Nashville Children’s Choir gathered at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center.

Among the musical selections was a solo performance by the concert host Kathy Mattea. She sang the Christmas song “Mary Did You Know?” In 1991, Mark Lowry wrote the lyrics to and Buddy Greene came up with the melody.

Lowry’s lyrics bear repeating as we considered what Mary may have treasured and pondered in her heart as Jesus “increased in wisdom and years, and in divine and human favor” (Luke 2:52).

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
would one day walk on water?
Mary did you know that your Baby Boy
would save our sons and daughters?

Did you know that your Baby Boy
has come to make you new?
That Child that you delivered
will soon deliver you.

Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
will calm the storm with his hand?

Did you know that your Baby Boy
has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your Baby
you kissed the face of God?

Mary did you know ...
The blind will see,
The deaf will hear.
The dead will live again.
The lame will leap.
The dumb will speak
the praises of the Lamb.

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation?
Mary, did you know that your Baby Boy
would one day rule the nations?

Did you know that your Baby Boy
is heaven’s perfect Lamb?
The sleeping Child you are holding
is the Great, I Am.

We know what Mary came to know.

So, we will go tell it on the mountain. We will tell it beside the sea - that Jesus Christ is born!

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