A sermon on choosing Real Love in the Eternal Jesus at Christmas, based on Philippians 1:3-11 (Advent 2C).
We see lots of adverts and announcements in the run-up to Christmas. Each one says “choose me!” Choose this product, this activity, this charity (this image of happiness). Often we are enticed with an image of love – a couple, a family, a community. It’s all a bit idealised and not always very real; if people don’t already have love and happiness, then why should it be different on December 25th?
Paul writes to his sisters and brothers in Philippi with real affection. He is in prison, unable to go out or to do the things he would like to do, unable to apply the wisdom that he has learnt – rather like us in our mortal bodies, stuck where we are in time and space. Being in prison means that Paul is waiting for execution, yet he has joy, hope and encouragement from the Philippians, because:
- He can see what God has started in them – and that God will finish the job, making them perfect and ready for Christ’s return;
- They have been totally committed to Paul – through thick and thin – (even waiting for death), he knows God’s love through them;
- This is real love, not some mushy Christmas advert love;
- Paul says that we can tell this love is real,
because (five off):
- Makes them alert, ready and determined to do God’s will;
- Helps them to discern right from wrong;
- It will ensure that sin can’t stick to them for long;
- It enables them to work constantly with God for good; and
- It shows the (true) glory to God to other people.
- This real love will prepare them for Christ’s return.
In this season of Advent we look forward to Christmas, to celebrating the birth of Jesus. We also look forward to Jesus returning in power and triumph, when our freedom of choice will disappear forever. Human beings will no longer be free to choose ignorance and selfishness, loneliness, war and cruelty.
who chose Jesus Christ will get your eternal reward, free from all the ills of
the world, free from the limits of your mortal bodies, free from the limits of
time and space – free of charge. Amen,
come Emanuel, come Lord Jesus!
 Whether they take any notice or not!