This is the sermon that I preached on the First Sunday of Christmas at Truckee Lutheran Presbyterian Church. For the video, click here (sermon starts at 9:15, but it helps to watch the readings first or just read the ones below)…
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty Christmassed out. I’m typically a pretty staunch practitioner of Advent, or at least I want to be. Looking back at last Christmas, I recall thinking, “You know, next year, we should really DO Advent. You know, wait until Christmas Eve to decorate — even to start playing Christmas music.” But then 2020 came. And it’s been an entire 9 months of Advent. So, on Thanksgiving Day, we ventured out to Sierraville, cut down a tree, and started the heavy rotation of Christmas music on Spotify.
So now, it’s only a couple days after Christmas and I have to confess — I have a bit of a Christmas hangover. I’m kind of sad… I don’t look forward to the day that we take the tree down. But there IS something purifying about having a bit more space in the living room and less anxiety around what gifts to buy for those people who already have everything, praise be to God.
Talking about purification, let’s turn to our reading from Luke… Some people think this was when Jesus was presented for circumcision. But this is not what it was. Like any good faithful people of their day, we have to say that Mary and Joseph had Jesus circumcised on the 8th day.
Instead, this is Mary’s purification. Leviticus 12 says that, because of her contact with all of those bodily fluids, a woman would be in a state of blood purification for 33 days after childbirth. She must not touch anything holy or enter the sacred area until her time of purification is completed. So here they are, 33 days after the first Christmas, in the temple. Again, like good faithful people, they’re doing as Mosaic law said and presenting their firstborn male child as being holy to the Lord.
The text says that they sacrificed a pair of turtle doves and two young pigeons. Those Leviticus geeks out there know why they did this. For the rest of you (like me, who had to look it up), this is in lieu of…