Monthly Archives: December 2014

A Christmas message

Let us pray:

Father in heaven,. our hearts desire the warmth of your love and our minds are
searching for the Light of your word. Increase our longing for Christ our Savior
and give us the strength to grow in love that the dawn of his coming may find us
rejoicing in his presence and welcoming the Light of his truth. We ask this in
the name of Jesus Christ the Lord. Amen.

Tonight, we continue with the theme; “The Light of Christ.” The joyous message
of this season is that light has come into the world. This is the light of life
and salvation. It is the light that breaks through the darkness of the night of
sin. This world seems so dark, but in this season reminds us that light has come.
Jesus is the light who brings life, peace, and salvation. This season tells us;
“Arise, shine, for thy light has come.”(Isaiah 60:1) We will journey to the
fields of Bethlehem and witness the shepherds hearing the angel’s
Proclamation of the the Savior’s birth.

I present to you this evening this theme:

THE LIGHT OF THE SHEPHERDS AND ANGELS
Luke 2:8-17

It was a chilly evening. Some shepherds were out in the fields watching
over their flocks. It was a dark evening, the only light that they
had were the moon, stars, and the flickering fire that they huddled
around for warmth. These were humble, poor men, and this seemed like just
another evening out in the field. They did not know that an event would
soon occur that would impact their lives and change the course of human
history.

All was quiet when suddenly, light burst forth. Light broke through
the darkness of that night, and they saw the angels. They were about
to hear the message that the people of old had long waited to hear.
They would be the first to hear the fulfillment of God’s promise that
he had made to our first parents in the garden. That promise that he
would send a Savior. Now the promise had been fulfilled. The Savior
had come.

Some might wonder; “Why was this proclamation made to these shepherds
rather then first to the leaders?” This demonstrates that the glad
tidings of this message are for all people. The leaders would have
looked down upon these shepherds and would have rejected the message.
The message of the Savior’s birth and the light that he brings is for
all people, no matter who they are, or where they come from.

There is no doubt that the appearance of these angels scared the
life out of these shepherds. They were not sure the meaning of
the angel’s appearance, nor what would happen to them. The angels
realized that the shepherds were scared. Wouldn’t you as well
be scared if the heaven’s opened up, and angels appeared to
you? The first thing that the angels did was to put their fears
to rest. One of the angels said; “Do not fear.” These are powerful
words still for us today. Those who trust in Christ have nothing
to fear. He puts the fears of believers to rest, and comforts
them with his presence and his peace. He is the God of all
comfort, and the Prince of peace. He is the source of both hope
and strength. Trials and setbacks will come along the journey,
but we need not fear. Jesus tells us; “Do not fear. I am
with you.” The light of his presence gives us strength to press
on in the journey.

Those who do not believe in Christ fear him, hate him, and they are
indifferent to his message. They prefer to remain in the darkness of
sin and unbelief. There are those who work against the Kingdom and
oppose Christ’s people because the message of the Gospel is offensive
to them. This is why we’ve seen Jesus being removed from every
aspect of life including both Christmas and Easter. Yet unbelievers
cannot dim the light of Christ, nor can they silence the message of
the Gospel.

Now the angel makes the glorious proclamation. He gives good news.
This is news that the world today still needs to hear. That good news is that
the Savior has been born. Sadly, this news has been drowned out by the
commercialism that has taken over. There many who either do not know
the true meaning of the season, or have forgotten that the season centers
upon Jesus. The angel said; “unto you, a Savior has been born.” He has
come to lead his people from the captivity of the devil and to break the
powers of sin and death. He has come to bring you peace and joy. He
would go from the crib to the cross, and would open the Kingdom of
heaven to all believers.

Then the whole heavenly host broke forth with the joyful song;

“Glory to God in the highest
And on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

This is a song of the Church in heaven and on earth. It is the
song that the Church sings in worship Sunday after Sunday. It is
a song of joy and thanksgiving to God who gave his Son to us. It is
a song of praise to Jesus, who is the Prince of peace and the Light
of salvation. It is a song of triumph and victory; praising the Lord
who has crushed the powers of sin, death, and the devil. It is sung in
praise and honor of the One who strengthens us each through our
earthly journey, and will lead us to our heavenly home.

After the angels had returned to heaven, what did the shepherds do?
Did they shrug the whole thing off and return to their sheep?
Not at all. They went to see the child for themselves. When they had
found him, they bowed in both worship and praise. At this time of the
year, we too come to see the Christ child and to bow down in worship.
Even though this is a busy time, let us remember the true meaning of this
season. It’s not sitting on Santa’s lap, nor about getting those last
minute gifts. It’s not just about getting together with family and friends.
This season has a more special meaning. It is about bowing before the
manger of the Savior. It’s about pondering and giving thanks to God
for his special gift. It’s about gathering with fellow believers and
celebrating the blessed light that has come into the world.

Once the shepherds had seen the Christ child, they went out and told
others. They couldn’t keep silent about what they had seen. They were
filled with joy, and they had to talk about it. The shepherds were the
first ones who told others about the Christ child.

So the witness continues. That the joyful tidings of Christmas are meant
for “all people” is symbolized by the fact that Christ’s birthplace was
at the crossroads of the world’s continents, Asia, Africa, Europe. The
babe of Bethlehem is God’s priceless gift to the whole world as John
3:16 says; “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son that
whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life,”
And it is God’s earnest desire that all should hear this good news.

We celebrate Christmas because others in the past brought the good news
to us. Like the shepherds of Bethlehem, it is now our obligation and
privilege to make known the things which were told us concerning this child.

The light of the shepherds and angels still shines. Christ’s light
continues to shine in this dark world. As we stand in this light, may we
also share this light with others. This is a wonderful time to tell others
about the Savior. May we like the shepherds bow before the Child, and also
like the shepherds, may we go forth and tell others the good news that brings
joy. Light shines in the darkness, Christ, the Light of the world has
come.

Let us pray;

Almighty God, who has poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word:
Grant that the same light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our
lives; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with
you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen

Michael Carter

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