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Sermons are preached within the context of a particular worship service, and are most meaningful when experienced in that way. We encourage you to view or listen to the entire worship service.
December 24, 2022
So, what happens next?
Let’s consider for a moment how this becomes personal to each of us. What will we take home with us tonight that will make a difference tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day? What’s the ‘take-a-way’? A feel-good moment? Or will we just go back to the same old, same old. The frustrating thing about life is that it’s so DAILY. Christmas brings us a God for the daily! Every breath, every moment.
You’ve heard THE good news – the gospel – the one that the prophets described so very long ago (Isaiah 9 reading) has come. The promise has been fulfilled. (Luke 2) All the readings and the songs we’ve sung have told the story; I couldn’t do it any better. Did you notice the words that we sang? What truths we’ve been proclaiming?
Many words of praise – but also Declarations of faith/ what we believe
– Look back with me. . .
O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL – v. 3 “Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing”
ONCE IN ROYAL DAVID’S CITY – v. 4 line 3 “we shall see him, but in heaven, set at God’s right hand.”
O LITTLE TOWN OF BETHLEHEM – v. 4 – PRAYER – “cast out our sin, and enter in,
Be born in us today… come to us, abide with us, our Lord Immanuel.”
THE FIRST NOEL – tells the whole story
HARK! THE HERALD ANGELS SING – v. 3 – line 3 – “Light and life to all he brings, ris’n with healing in his wings.. . born that we no more may die. . .born to give us second birth.”
We’ve been on tip-toe, looking forward to THE EVENT that changed everything! God has come to earth to live with us, EMMANUEL – God with us – to be a part of every aspect of our lives. To make a difference in the ‘dailies’. God has entered our human story in Jesus, the Word Incarnate, God in human flesh.
What begins with a wooden CRIB, will lead to a wooden CROSS! Then an empty tomb and a resurrection! Then Pentecost and the Holy Spirit to carry on the work through us!!
My friends, this is just the BEGINNING. God has become flesh and now dwells among us. EMMANUEL – God is with us – Jesus’ life on earth will include his death and resurrection which daily brings us so many gifts: forgiveness of sin, eternal life, reconciliation, fruit of the Spirit, etc. Why do we give gifts? At Christmas, we give gifts to our loved ones to express our love to them. But it began with God’s greatest gift of love to us: God’s only child! We love because God first loved us!
Tomorrow, after the gifts have been opened, and you might be thinking – well, I’m glad that’s over for another year – REMEMBER. It’s not over with God. It’s NEVER over with God. God’s gifts just keep on giving to each of us. Strength and wisdom for the day’s tasks. Love and patience for relationships. Healing and wholeness to fit the need. Grace and mercy to fill every situation. God, the great Giver of Gifts, the Greatest Love of all times.
When Jesus was born, God set in motion, by an eternal time clock, the Spirit’s bringing life and salvation to all who will receive and believe. Because of Jesus and His first coming, we can have hope into the new year. God is not done yet. No matter what the time in history, God keeps coming. God goes with us into every situation, God is there in every heart ache and loss, God is there in every joy, every relationship. God comes tonight in the Holy Supper. That’s why we praise and sing tonight!
This is Good News, Amen? Amen!
Let us continue to declare our faith, using the words of IT CAME UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR.