Christmas Eve Sermon
December 24, 2015
Once there was a man who was skeptical about the birth of Christ and what the meaning of Christmas was all about. On the other hand, his wife was the opposite. She was devout and very spiritual. Both of them and their children lived on a farm out in the country. On one particular snowy Christmas Eve, the wife decided it was safe enough to take the children to the candlelight service at their church. Before they left in their pick-up truck, she asked her husband if he would like to come along, but he refused. Instead he ridiculed the meaning of Christmas and stated that he was better off at home.
After his wife and children left, the husband looked out the window and saw a flock of geese which stood in his field. They looked cold. For some unknown reason, he had compassion and wanted to help the geese. Then he thought the barn would be a great place for them to stay. Inside it is dry and there the geese could spend the night. So he went outside and opened the barn door and waited. Nothing happened. The geese just stood around. Then he tried to shoo them in, but that did not work. Then he tried to chase them towards the barn, but that only scared them and they were scattered in every direction except the barn. Frustrated the man said to himself. “Why don’t they follow me? Can’t they see that the barn is the only place where they can be dry and protected from the cold and the elements?” Then he said “If I could only become like one of them, then I could save them.”
Then he stood silently for a moment, as the words which he just said reverberated back into his mind. “If only I could become like one of them, then I could save them.” He became quiet as he pondered this very thought.
In a strange sort of way, he began to understand why Christ had to come. And when his wife and children returned from that Christmas Eve service, what they found was a husband and father who was now a believer in Christ.
In our gospel text, Luke 2:1-20, the baby Jesus was born in a stable, but later grew up to be a man. As an adult, he showed us the way to God through his life, his words, and his miracles. And so the magic of Christmas is not in the presents, but his presence.
I want you to notice that when the shepherds were told of the baby, it was not enough for them to know about the birth of a child who was born the Messiah. What they had to do was go and have that experience for themselves. Once that had happened, they were forever changed and were able to worship and praise God.
It is the same with us. It is not enough to know about the baby who became a man, we have to experience him. And when we do-our lives will be fulfilled.
Let us pray: Gracious God, grant that we may be like those travelers like Mary and Joseph who searched for a place for the Christ child to be born. May we be like the shepherds who hurried to the stable to witness a miracle. May we have the courage to offer our lives as a means to do God’s work on earth as it is in heaven. Thank you for becoming one of us and showing us the way. May we dwell in your arms.
From The New Revised Standard Version of the Bible:
The Birth of Jesus
2 In those days a decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration and was taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 All went to their own towns to be registered.4 Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the city of David called Bethlehem, because he was descended from the house and family of David. 5 He went to be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child. 6 While they were there, the time came for her to deliver her child. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in bands of cloth, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
The Shepherds and the Angels
8 In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 Then an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: 11 to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah,[a] the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host,[b] praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace among those whom he favors!”[c]
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the child lying in the manger. 17 When they saw this, they made known what had been told them about this child; 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
- Luke 2:11Or the Christ
- Luke 2:13Gk army
- Luke 2:14Other ancient authorities read peace, goodwill among people