Christmas Eve Service
2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness on them light has shined. 3 You have multiplied the nation, you have increased its joy; they rejoice before you as with joy at the harvest, as people exult when dividing plunder. 4 For the yoke of their burden, and the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian. 5 For all the boots of the tramping warriors and all the garments rolled in blood shall be burned as fuel for the fire. 6 For a child has been born for us, a son given to us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onward and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.
11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all, 12 training us to renounce impiety and worldly passions, and in the present age to live lives that are self-controlled, upright, and godly, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope and the manifestation of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. 14 He it is who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds.
1 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. 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, 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, praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace among those whom he favors!” 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.
Silent Night, Holy Night story of Franz Gruber/Joseph Mohr 1818
Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht
Alles schläft; einsam wacht
Nur das traute hochheilige Paar.
Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!
Most Beloved Carol-hard to live up to
● Our Christmases are messy, difficult, pain and suffering
● Struggle with the disparity
Not a silent night- a disappointment from having to travel: difficult journey, anxiety,
the noise of childbirth (even today) Silence in delivery causes worry, we hold our breath until we hear that first cry, and then there is the noise and the filth of animals,
Place she didn’t want to be, getting ready for the most profound thing God has ever done
● If all were calm and bright, Christmas wouldn’t be necessary
● Christmas came because the world was broken
● God was working to transform the world
For many this is difficult
● Becoming Christian doesn’t solve all your problems
● What do we learn through Jesus
○ Life-who God is
○ Teachings-how to live
● World calls us to seek our own glory, Jesus calls us to seek God’s glory
● World calls us to demand justice, Jesus calls us to demonstrate mercy
Gifts of Christmas
● Love=unconditional-God knows your name, knows everything about you, and loves you no matter what
● Forgiveness and New Life=God Believes in what we can be
● Resurrection-through the darkness, light is found
○ Change of perspective: hope, peace, joy, and love are attainable
○ Amazing story-Kathleen Baskin-Ball
■ Like Lowell
As he lost energy-sat on a stool
Preached with his last breath
● Some asked why he didn’t stop
○ He lived, proclaimed, and trusted in Jesus, born of Mary, who came to offer us hope and grace, and life.
○ In the end, light always has the last word
The Good News: Those whom God chooses and blesses are not promised that life will be free of adversity, but that in the end, the adversity will be worth it because God will work through it.
On the night of Jesus’ birth, despite the disappointment, darkness, and pain–a peace, a joy, a love she had never known before. At that moment: All was calm, and all was bright.
When we like Mary, hold Christ near our hearts, we, too, may discover a silent night after all. When we release all our fears and anxieties to God, our lives will be fueled by the hope, filled with the peace, infused with joy, and nourished by the love that begins with a baby in a manger.