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What happens now? 

I assume most of you here in the sanctuary and online at home or on the road have had your Christmas celebrations.

How did it turn out? 

Were the folks there you’d hoped for there? 

Did you end up giving and getting all the presents you’d planned? 

Is Christmas dinner still to come, like ours in Altamont later today? Is it ham or turkey, or something more exotic?

And if so, what comes next? Not just dessert? But what follows Christmas?

I heard that, a nap! But after that?

It’s an essential question! Because the birth of Jesus is not the end of the story. It is just the beginning. And today’s scripture gives us a hint as to what is to come. A normal childhood, of course. Well, kind of.

Because today’s scripture is all about the baby boy born on Christmas getting started in life as a young Jewish man. 

He will be named, circumcised, and then his parents will go to the Temple in Jerusalem to make the appropriate sacrifices to provide for the cleansing of his mother Mary after having given birth. 

The story about that requirement can be found in Leviticus 12:1-8, a purification ritual required forty days after the birth. There was a lamb and a pigeon to be offered, but if that was too much, two pigeons and/or two doves could be offered.

And Jesus family did what the law required. After all, Jesus came to fulfill the law, not abolish it!

And yet the story strangely seems to suggest that the young Jesus while dedicated to God at the Temple, tells nothing of his redemption. Curious.

The redemption of the first-born son was required in Exodus 13:2, 12-16, and the cost was just five shekels. 

But if the son wasn’t redeemed, then they belonged to the Lord, just like the story of the prophet Samuel, born to Hannah and raised by her until he could go to the Tabernacle and serve the Lord.

Could it be then, that Jesus like Samuel, was always to go back to serving God? Which explains Jesus visit when he was twelve…

So, yes, Jesus was born on Christmas Day. 

But understand, that was just the beginning.

And then Simeon and Anna arrived on the scene, sensing God’s presence, they came to bless the boy and his parents and to get them ready for what was ahead.
Christmas is a great celebration. 

I wouldn’t miss it for anything! 

But as one of the stories of Jesus, it is in some many ways, just the starters pistol at the beginning of the race. 

There is so much more to come.

But like in Jesus’s life, there was to be a bit of quiet as Jesus grows from child to young man, and beyond. 

For us, a few weeks of winter before we really start again with Ash Wednesday and Lent heading towards Easter at the total other end of the story.

And in between we will learn about the incredible works of Jesus, of his teachings and healings and miracles of all kinds, as he introduced folks to the incarnate presence of God and opened their hearts and minds to the amazing love of God.

So, enjoy your Christmas!

Snuggle up around the warm fires with family and friend and store up some energy, because Christmas is just the beginning!

Jesus is born!
And now the real adventure begins. 

Merry Christmas! Amen.