So I have three different sermons whirling around in my head.
I have a funeral sermon to deliver on Friday morning based on Luke 15:3-7 (parable of the lost sheep).
I have a Sunday morning sermon to deliver 2x based on Matthew 1:18-25 (Joseph's dream of angel telling him to marry Mary).
I have a Christmas Eve sermon to deliver 3x based on the theme of the nativity scene of Mary, Joseph, angel, and Baby Jesus.
For the funeral: Among many things, this man was a sheep farmer. I'm thinking of tying and weaving together the lost sheep parable, the shepherds watching their flocks by night who are led to Emmanuel, and the life of this farmer who was a hard worker and very kind man. Not sure how, but that's the germ of an idea.
For Sunday: Going to tell the very funny story of our first Christmas tree and of how I had planned such a perfect first Christmas together, and how it all fell apart. Then connect it to how Joseph must have had expectations and plans for his life too. He had it mapped out, but then the angel visits, and blows him off that map. I'll reflect on how "God With Us" does that, takes us off our small finite human maps, and puts us in God's cosmic plan. Can be exhilirating, frustrating, frightening, overwhelming, joyfilled, etc. It opens us to a wider a world and a greater vision, but also often means in practical terms that we are called to be faithful in the "small" day to day stuff. Which doesn't seem big, or to matter, but it does. Marrying a girl who is carrying a child that isn't yours is not glamorous. Hauling a pregnant girl across the countryside so the oppressors can tax you more effectively isn't a thrill ride. But it is about trust, and trying to be faithful, and surrendering to another's will.
For Christmas Eve: Something about how this manger scene, and this story, is our story. It is for us, for us all. Imagine the animals rustling and making their noises. Imagine their smells. The feel of the rough wood, the rope to tie up the donkey. The feel of a newborn baby's skin. (involve all the senses) Imagine it, and place your self there. This is our place too, because he came for us. We carry this scene, and this place with us through the rest of the year.
Well, something like that! Some first thoughts, anyway.