The Sermon on the Mount at Christmas

By Marjorie F. Eddington

Categories: Expressing God

Christmas is resplendent with the light and love of the Christ. It’s full of hope and promise. And while the journey for Jesus was a difficult one, it was a joyous one as well, replete with healing and transformation, freedom and triumph. As the Christ is always with us in every situation, so healing and freedom are present in our lives as well.

How do we feel the Christ with us and keep the Christ in our hearts? We strive to live the life Jesus told us to live, indeed showed us how to live. We find much of that instruction in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7). He didn’t teach and then go out and live a different life. Everything he taught he demonstrated time and time again. So what have we learned from our two-year study of the Sermon on the Mount?

We first hear about the Beatitudes—the attitudes of living a blessed life, of being happy—being poor in spirit, totally dependent upon God; finding comfort out of mourning; being meek (“forbearance under injury,” humility); hungering and thirsting after righteousness; having a pure heart; making peace; enduring persecution for righteousness’ sake; rejoicing when others persecute us for following the Christ example. What do we receive? The kingdom of heaven, comfort, mercy, seeing God, our identity as God’s child.

  • Then we are to be salt and light—we are to be useful, to preserve the Christ spirit, to shine the Christ light.
  • Next, Jesus explains that he has come to fulfill, not destroy, the law. And we are to keep that law. What is this law? None other than the law of Love, which he demonstrates throughout his life. So how do we demonstrate this law?
  • Don’t be angry. Remember, the consequence of anger is hell-fire. Rather, make amends; find a way to solve problems.
  • Keep our thoughts clean. We know not to commit adultery. (Moses commanded that.) But Jesus reminds us not to even look with lust. Refrain from indulging in sensual thinking.
  • Be faithful; honor our commitments.
  • And don’t make vain oaths, promising things and using God’s name in vain. Rather, let our communication be simple, honest, sincere—yes or no.
  • When others treat us harshly, don’t get caught up in retaliation. Rather, turn the other cheek, go the extra mile, treat them kindly.
  • Love your enemies.
  • Don’t be hypocrites.
    • Give to others because we love to give, not because we want to be noticed.
    • Check our motives for prayer. Don’t pray to get accolades from others, but go into the prayer closet to be alone with God so we can hear what God is telling us.
    • And when we fast, fast so no one knows.
  • And of course, during this portion, Jesus shares his heartfelt and powerful prayer, which we call the Lord’s prayer. We, too, can pray as Jesus prayed.
  • So that means we keep our focus on God. We don’t want to make treasures of earthly things because they fade. Keep heavenly treasures.
  • Keep our eye full of light, single focused on God. That way our lives, our bodies, will be full of light.
  • And we really can only serve one master, not two. So serve God.
  • Don’t worry! God takes care of us. God clothes and feeds us, as he does the birds and lilies. God supplies all our needs in the very minutiae of our lives.
  • Don’t condemn others. In fact, we must get rid of whatever beams or logs are in our own eyes.
  • Don’t profane that which is holy—keep the holy holy. It’s important to cherish what God gives us.
  • Ask. Seek. Knock. When we ask, God answers. When we seek God, we find good. When we knock at God’s door, God opens it.
  • In everything, practice the Golden Rule: go out and do good to and for others.
  • Go through the narrow gate, though God’s path. We’ll know it because it’s narrow. Plus, there are more people going down the wide road.
  • As we walk, we need to be aware of false prophets who try to get us to veer off course. We’ll know them by their fruits. Good trees produce good fruit.
  • If we really want to live a God-led life, we have to do the will of the Father. We can’t follow our own agendas.
  • So we listen to Jesus’ words and follow his commands. When we do this, we are wisely building on the rock and not on the shifting sands of human wills or wants. Indeed, we are secure on the rock of Christ, and nothing can push us off or destroy our trust in God.
  • Jesus spoke with authority. And so can we. We, too, have the authority that comes from knowing God is our all-powerful, all-loving Parent.

Matthew continues to tell us Jesus’ story. When Jesus walks down from the “mount,” he maintains his spiritually elevated thinking. So when a leper or a centurion approaches him, Jesus heals immediately. When he meets crowds or sees Peter’s wife’s mother sick with a fever, he heals immediately. When his disciples are scared of the storm, he stills it. When the demon-possessed Gaderene men confront him, he casts the demons out. When the men bring their paralyzed friend to him, he forgives his sins and heals him. And on and on—healing the blind, the mute, the lame, the insane, the sick, the sinning, the dying, the dead.

Jesus’ life was a life of loving service. It didn’t matter if the problem he faced dealt with a physical illness, a mental instability, a natural disaster, whether it was considered sickness or sin. Jesus healed it—rebuked the evil, the problem, and restored health, wholeness, harmony. And he did it with authority. And so can we.

That’s how we live a blessed and happy life. That’s how we keep the Christ in our hearts.

May you always feel the Christ with you in your lives. And may you share that healing love and light with the world. In the words of Paul, who shared the Christ:

Finally, brothers and sisters, be joyful! Work to make things right with one another. Help one another and agree with one another. Live in peace. And the God who gives love and peace will be with you. (2 Cor 13:11 NIRV)

God Bless.