Just Give Me Jesus


As part of an Advent program, I invited children forward and told them the Christmas story with the manger. One little boy held-up his hand and said, “hey, you know what?” Pointing to the creche he said, “we have that game. We have that game at our home” Within seconds, all the children echoed, “we have that game.” I tried to clarify quickly that the Nativity was not about a game but a story. I’m not sure the lesson was learned.

 I sure need a story, not a game. Games are good for entertainment, testing skill, and cleverness but stories provide a narrative. In the narrative we find ourselves and meaning in life is revealed.  The words plumb the depths of our soul, and our imagination, opening us to Truth which frames our faith.

Faith is built upon a story. Ritual then lives out the story. Celebration responds to the story. So, every year, we come back tonight to the Christmas narrative. We come back—like a time machine–we return, we remember, we recollect, the story which is the same as last year. But what is different is time does not stand still.

We are different. The Christmas story is the same but we are not. There is tragedy in our world like we have not known before and there is fear. We come to the Christmas story reading our time into it.

I listen, to the angel and the announcement to the shepherds. Like many of you, I have heard this angel a million times before, but this year the angel speaks to our time: “Do not be afraid,” the angel says. “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people.” The message from the angel is don’t let fear block joy.

Fear can be an obstacle to joy. Fear is literally a kill-joy. But the new truth, or perhaps the deep and profound truth which has always been there, is—in spite of fear–joy surrounds us. The Christmas story is not saying fear doesn’t exist. It does say, by living in and trusting God, we can experience joy.

Return to the story. Mary was no doubt a frightened young woman. Yet, the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and announced to her, much like the shepherds, “do not be afraid Mary.” Fear is imbedded in the Christmas story, but it isn’t the entire story. Mary trusted in God. She recognized the presence of God in her life and she was filled with joy.

Joseph knew fear. He knew Herod. He knew what people were thinking about Mary. His life changed.  Again, the angel of the Lord appears to Joseph, and says, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary your wife.” 

Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. Joy to the world. That’s our story. When God’s time enters our time, we play for real.

Celtic Christianity in Scotland

Led by Jennie Weeks and the Rev. Robin Jennings

September 16-26, 2024

Email:  [email protected] or [email protected]

Phone: (502) 762-4705    or    (502) 741-1017

Picture of Robin Jennings

Robin Jennings

Robin T. Jennings is an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church, and an accomplished author, speaker and teacher who inspires his audiences with Biblical guidance and spiritual insights into everyday life. Whether he has the opportunity to speak to churches, businesses or organizations, Robin’s lifetime of work in spiritual transformation and renewal connects individuals with timely topics such as the importance of community, hope, identity and the search for meaning which are inevitably woven into his message.

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