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Christmas Eve 2021

Christmas Eve 2021

John 1 (Various Verses)

Tonight marks my 19th Christmas Eve service with you. For almost 2 decades now, we’ve gathered together to hear the story of the Angels singing… and of the Manger… and the Christ Child. It occurred to me, as I was pondering this night, that we’re all familiar with the Story… we’ve encountered the Shepherds and the Wise Men… we’ve experienced the characters and nuisances from pretty much every angle imaginable!

Not that we could ever exhaust the Gospel story… we can’t. It’s message may be ancient, but it’s spirit is alive and active and always welcomed anew in our hearing!

But, I’d be “less that truthful” if I failed to admit that, like others, I wonder what more could be said? What more could possibly be told and shared that hasn’t already been told, and shared? What could possibly be expounded upon, in an effort to help us hear these words of “peace and goodwill” with more clarity and precision?

And, the only answer I can imagine... is... Nothing. I could never possibly add anything new, or interesting, or noteworthy, that hasn’t already been said!

But then, that’s not my job! My job is to follow the very biblical model of calling God’s people (us!) to remember!

During the advent/Christmas seasons, the church has almost unlimited potential in regards to sharing the gospel… In fact, do use a good basketball phrase… we’re given an “assist” from the world around us, as practically everyone seems more agreeable to talking about and sharing the good news!

One of my theological “go to’s” is RC Sproul. And some years ago, when the “Keep Christ in Christmas” movement was warming up, said, “Christ is still in Christmas, and for one brief season, the secular world broadcasts the message of Christ over every radio station and television channel in the land. Never does the church get as much free air time as during the Christmas season.”

In other words, when it comes to sharing the Good News, this time of year, the door has been flung open and all we need to do is walk through. It’s easier this time of year to share the message of Christ than pretty much any other.

And what a wonderful, glorious, amazing message it is!

The story of God, the Creator of the universe, becoming human. It’s not a new story… It’s not one that we’re hearing for the first time. Like I said earlier, we’ve heard it time and time again, all of our lives…

And the Good News brings the very same question to bear, every single Christmas: And that question, is, “why?” - “Why… did God become human?”

Anselm (over 10 centuries ago) wrestled with “Cur Deus Homo” - why did God become a man?

Of course, John’s Gospel speaks to this age old mystery: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… Through HIM all things were made... In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it...

The Word became flesh, and dwelt among us... and we have beheld his glory… The glory of the one and only begotten of God, full of grace and truth.”

So this time of year when we’re actually invited by our culture, by our society, to talk about this wonderful message of God becoming a man it always begs the question… Why?

In the answer… is as simple as it is profound: He came to save his people from their sin. He came to save you and me from death, and hate, and self-destruction…

The amazement and glory of such a thing is revealed in the in the announcement of Christ birth to ordinary people... shepherds… “Behold, I bring you good news of great joy (the Angel said) that will be for all people… for unto you {SHEPHERDs, unto YOU!}, is born this day, in the city of David, a Savior… Christ the Lord… And this will be a sign… YOU will find Him, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.”

And suddenly, a great company of heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest!” They break out in the song… Because they’ve experienced the glory of God themselves, and now He’s taking on human flesh… The promise of the Old Testament prophets fulfilled… And the hope of mankind secured.

As Isaiah put it, he will be called “wonderful Counselor, mighty God, everlasting father, prince of peace.” These are titles that were reserved for royalty, royalty that saw themselves as “God kings”, as humans who’d been elevate to “gods.”

But... the power of Christmas, the remarkably amazing Good News, it’s not in a human becoming God! It’s in God becoming one of us. This baby, humble and lying in a manger, would be the culmination of all the hopes and dreams of 1000 generations.

Jesus would be the true King of kings, and Lord of lords!

So we question shifts, from “why?” to “what?” - as in, what are we doing to live this wonderful gospel? What are we doing to live life in the reality that Christ has come?

Knowing that Christ has come to save us is a message we get to celebrate this time of year, and all year! Sharing that message is our calling and privilege. Living the gospel is our expectation.

Of course, you and I can only share what we have. We can only give of what we possess. Unless you and I have grasped the glory and wonder of a Good News… Unless we have received the reality of the light that dispels the darkness… Unless you and I know the Prince of peace… And unless we live in His grace, and the assurance that the birth of Christ brings… There’s no way we will ever be able to share Him, no matter how much we celebrate.

Brothers and Sisters, remember the wonderful Good News we’ve been given... and share it! Share the Good News. Live the Good New! Be the Good News!

“Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:10)

“He will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:21)


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