Summary: The message for our annual Christmas Eve service
A Light has Dawned
Christmas Eve Candlelight Service Message
December 24, 2013
Turn out the lights as the pastor prays and start with the sanctuary completely dark.
Darkness is something we do not like. One of the strongest fears that people have is the fear of darkness. Darkness gives us a feeling of evil. Darkness is unsettling and disturbing. Darkness cloaks the intent of evil. Our desire is to be in the light.
Light dispels darkness: Where there is light, darkness cannot exist. It is impossible for darkness to overcome light. Have you ever seen darkness take over a room where the lights are on?
Light gives direction: Walking in the light tends to help you see where you are and where you are going. Walking in the light tends to give you direction on things to avoid.
Light offers discovery: Things are much easier to find with the lights on. Have you ever tried to search for something in the dark and not been able to find it?
Christmas is the beginning of death’s destruction. Jesus pierced the darkness of death with the power of the resurrection and eternal life. There is hope because Jesus came to our world to defeat the power of sin and be our redeemer. Tonight we celebrate that the light of life has dawned and that we no longer need to fear because the savior of the world has come to us.
First Candle: Light has dawned – Isaiah 9:2
One of the verses that is part of the theme for this year’s celebration of Advent comes from Isaiah. It is the promise of hope for the hopeless and light to those who are walking in darkness.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. Isaiah 9:2
The nation of Israel had been walking in a season of darkness that caused the people to lose hope. God speaks in the midst of these fears and offers hope that there would be a day when the darkness would be defeated and a new light would dawn for the entire world. The timing of God could not have come at a more desperate point in history. Israel was suffering immensely under the occupation of Rome and endured one of the worst periods of persecution in their history.
* Religious freedom was limited
* Massive deportations took place across the Roman Empire
* God had not sent a prophet in nearly 500 years
* The promise of the Messiah seemed like a dim hope
One night the darkness was broken by the light of a special star. It is not by accident that God chose to guide the Magi to the Christ child through the light of a magnificent star. Christmas is the season where God penetrates the darkness of fear and doubt to give us light and hope.
Second Candle: The Light of the World (John
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." John 8:12
Jesus told His disciples: I am the light of the world. The promise that Jesus makes is one of hope that no matter what happens in life, we will never have to walk alone. There will never be a time when we have to wander in darkness – we have the gift of His light to guide the way.
Third Candle: The Light of Life (John 1:1-5)
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:1-5
In the beginning of his gospel John describes Jesus as the living Word; the power that holds all things in life together. Jesus is author of the power of life and that life is the life to humanity. The hope that we have in Jesus penetrates the despair that sin creates and allows us to walk in His divine light.
Fourth Candle: I am the Bright Morning Star
"I, Jesus, have sent my angel to give you this testimony for the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star." Revelation 22:16
What is a morning star? Jewish customs hold that the morning star is the first star that appears just before the dawn. The morning star often appears in the western sky around 4:00am. This is the brightest star in the sky at the time and it was often used as a means of direction.