Sermon Isaiah 9:2-7 “Christ is Born! Now the Journey Begins” December 24, 2013 (10:00 p.m.)

What does it mean to be a people who walk in darkness? You know, I love this late service on Christmas Eve. I love the quiet streets, the houses lit and welcoming, the silence and the sense of expectation. On any other night, if there are lights burning, they don’t seem to say the same thing to me. They don’t seem to make a statement against the pervading darkness that infects our lives but this is a night where the lights around us, even the light of a single candle, seems to break through the darkness as it offers its own ray of hope.  On a night like this, peace is possible.

It is Christmas Eve and the night is still, but around the world and even here in our own country, peace has yet to come. For over 2000 years now, we have expressed the belief that with the birth of Jesus, the coming of the Christ, peace is possible, a reality. But, instead, we find that families, intimate and global, are torn apart for a multitude of reasons few of which, if any, seem to warrant the breaking of relationship or the demise of peace among all men and all women too. We journey toward a peace that is still illusive. How do we close the gap between wishful hope and sustained reality?

Well, the journey begins tonight. Each and every day we take one small step toward bringing about the peace promised in our Christmas Carols. How do we do this? We do this by first believing peace is possible. And we do this because we also believe that by living as Christ lived we can be a people for whom the spirit of peace exists. By the way we live our lives with and for God’s beloved children all around the world, we take a step toward changing, transforming what is into what might yet be. The miracle of this night lies in our willingness to live into the hope that is yet to be realized…peace on earth. Goodwill to all.

There is a wonderful poem by Ann Weems entitled: “THIS YEAR” that seems to speak to this hope we all share tonight.

I wonder if God comes to the edge of heaven each Advent

And flings the Star into the December sky,

   Laughing with joy as it lights the darkness of the earth;

And the angels, hearing the laughter of God,

Begin to congregate in some celestial chamber

To practice their alleluias.


I wonder if there’s some ordering of rank among the angels

As they move into procession,

The seraphim bumping the cherubim from top spot,

The new inhabitants of heaven standing in the back

Until they get the knack of it.

(After all, treading air over a stable and annunciating at the

same time can’t be all that easy!)

or is everybody – that is, every “soul” – free to fly

wherever the spirit moves?


Or do they even think about it?

Perhaps when God calls, perhaps they just come,

This multitude of heavenly hosts.

Perhaps they come, winging through the winds of time

Full of expectancy full of hope

That this year

Perhaps this year (perhaps)

The earth will fall to its knees

In a whisper of “Peace.”[1]


This is a night of miracles when we remember that the baby born more than 2000 years ago came to bring salvation by sharing his very self with us. As we share the bread and cup this evening, we come together as the gathered body of Christ to reaffirm our belief that in Christ we have received the miracle of life. God has blessed us with gifts of peace, of hope and of love. In like manner, we can offer the blessings of those same gifts to others in God’s name and through the healing grace of our Lord Jesus Christ and by the way we live our lives, transform and heal the world.

That this year

Perhaps this year (perhaps)

The earth will fall to its knees

In a whisper of “Peace.”[2]




[1] Ann Weems, Kneeling in Bethlehem, Westminister/John Knox Press, 1993, 41.

[2] Ibid., 41.