Christmas Sermon 2014 at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Troy, New York
[Gene Tobey sings “I wonder as I wander.” (All verses)]
I wonder as I wander out under the sky, How Jesus the Savior did come for to die For poor on’ry people like you and like I… I wonder as I wander out under the sky.
When Mary birthed Jesus ’twas in a cow’s stall, With wise men and farmers and shepherds and all. But high from God’s heaven a star’s light did fall, And the promise of ages it then did recall.
If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing, A star in the sky, or a bird on the wing, Or all of God’s angels in heav’n for to sing, He surely could have it, ’cause he was the King. (1.)
I wonder … I wonder what brought you to St. Paul’s this damp Christmas Eve …
If I wandered among you and asked you, I wonder if any of you would answer that you were here because of a baby … I can see that many of you are part of our regular St. Paul’s family, and no doubt you are here because St. Paul’s is your church and where else would you be on Christmas Eve?
Some of you might tell me that it is a long family tradition … others of you might say that you love the choir and the beautiful, stirring music. Some of you may well be here because St. Paul’s is such a beautiful church. A few of you may be here at the urging of family or friends and you want to be with them. Perhaps several of you “just wandered in” … to get warm, or out of curiosity.
My friends, for whatever the reason, I am glad you are here and I am happy to see you.
So it may surprise you that I am here to tell you that no matter what you may think … you are here because of a baby…
Our St Paul’s parishioners are here … because of a baby.
Those of you who believe you are here in observance of a long standing family tradition to be at St. Paul’s on Christmas eve … you came because of a baby . . .
Our faithful, talented choir members led by our exceptional organist and choir director, Brian Hoffman … are all here because of a baby … the glorious music they perform and the carols we sing are all about … a baby.
This magnificent church interior designed and executed by Louis Comfort Tiffany was built to the honor and glory of … a baby.
And all the rest of you who are here, willing or unwilling, curious or cold … yes, you got it … because of a little baby.
“Hush-a-bye, go to sleep little baby There in the manger, safe beside your momma, Only the angels who watch over you as you are sleeping Know that you are here to change the world” (2.)
And I wonder … why God sent a tiny helpless infant to show us ‘poor ornery mortals’ how much he loves us and how he longs for us to love him back? Maybe it’s simply because it’s so easy to love a baby.
Actually I am convinced … that you are all here because somewhere deep inside there is an urge, a nudge, maybe a longing to approach that humble manger bed and whisper … “I love you too.”
[Gene sings first and last verse]
I wonder as I wander out under the sky, How Jesus the Savior did come for to die. For poor on’ry people like you and like I…
I wonder as I wander out under the sky. If Jesus had wanted for any wee thing, A star in the sky, or a bird on the wing, Or all of God’s angels in heav’n for to sing, He surely could have it, ’cause he was the King.
1. “I wonder as I wander” by John Jacob Niles
2. “The Secret of the Stars” From The Way Of The Wolf By Martin Bell.