[Following is the Christmas Eve sermon from a sweet book of fiction called Home For The Holidays by Rebecca Kelly, pages 279-283. Reverend Thompson of Grace Chapel is having his sermon broadcast over Acorn Hill, Pennsylvania’s local radio station because a blizzard caused Christmas Eve Services to be cancelled…]
Good evening friends.
The recent bad weather has made it impossible for us to be together in the flesh
but that is not an unusual thing for Christians.
Throughout history, we have had to carry our faith with us,
wherever we go and whenever we are separated from those we love.
You could say that by now, we’re almost used to it.
Tonight Christians all over the world are celebrating the most holy night of the year.
We come together on this night to worship and pray, and to thank Almighty God
for the gift that He made to the world, the gift of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
We come together now, in spirit, to offer up our love and our gratitude to God,
for bringing the light of salvation into the world through Jesus Christ.
We all know the story and yet we never tire of hearing it.
I’d like to tell you the story again, from the book of Luke, Chapter 2.
“In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that the whole world should be enrolled. This was the first enrollment, when Quirinius was governor of Syria. So all went to be enrolled, each to his own town. And Joseph too went up from Galilee from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David that is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were shepherds in that region living in the fields and keeping the night watch over their flock. The angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were struck with great fear. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For today in the city of David a savior has been born for you who is Christ and Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find an infant wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was a multitude of the heavenly host with the angel, praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels went away from them to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go, then, to Bethlehem to see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has made known to us.” So they went in haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. When they saw this, they made known the message that had been told them about this child. All who heard it were amazed by what had been told them by the shepherds. And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, just as it had been told to them.”
Those words speak of a birth that happened two thousand years ago.
It was a supreme moment, a moment when
the greatest love of all time was shown to mankind.
My dear friends, as Christmas is upon us,
let us tell this story to our families and our children and our friends.
Tell them of what happened on this night,
so very long ago in the town of Bethlehem.
A town whose very name means, ‘house of bread’.
Jesus would later say of Himself,
‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry,
and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.’ (John 6:35)
We are accustomed to going out during this season to share our joy with others.
But joy is not simply the consequences of celebrations and gift-giving.
Joy comes from Almighty God, the source of all happiness.
When you feel joy, the light of heaven is illuminating your heart.
For the many who have been separated by circumstances from their loved ones,
I pray that you will look in your heart for joy.
The love of God makes all things simple, and transforms our pain into peace.
If not for the coming of Jesus Christ,
we might never have known how much love God has for us, His children.
We truly would have been left alone and cold and hungry.
Let us pray together now…
Dear Father in heaven,
You have filled our lives with countless blessings, and our hearts with peace and love.
We thank You for this wonderful season and for the gifts it brings to us,
but most importantly, we thank You for the birth of Your Son, Jesus Christ,
who was Your gift to the world.
Help us follow His teachings and find our way through the darkness.
Give us the strength to find joy wherever we are,
safe in the knowledge that we are loved by You.
Remind us that no matter where we are, that we are never, ever alone.
Through the glory that is Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.