Summary: The message from our annual Christmas Eve candlelight communion service
A Light in the Darkness
Christmas Eve Message
In the beginning of God’s relationship with humanity, there was peace, harmony and unity. The relationship Adam and Eve enjoyed with God in the Garden was perfect. The perfect relationship was marred and corrupted by the introduction of sin into a perfect world. From that point, darkness entered into the world. The world walked in the darkness of sin and death, without hope, without light to guide them.
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
Jesus entered the world as the hope, as the source of life that pierces the darkness. Jesus came into the world to reveal the love, the life and the light of God into the darkness. Tonight we come to celebrate the first coming of Jesus into our world with an eager expectation of His coming again.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:15-20
First candle – Immanuel: God with us Colossians 1:15 The image of the invisible God
He is the image of the invisible God
Paul describes Jesus in a manner that often confuses people in modern society. Jesus is the image of the invisible God. The word image often gives the impression that something is fake or less than genuine, a cheap rip off. The Greek word here is eikon, which means an exact copy. The church copy machine is serviced by a company called Ikon.
Jesus is the eikon of God. He is the exact and perfect copy of God. Jesus is everything that God is. There is no difference between Jesus and God. Jesus is a full and absolute representation of the eternal God in human form. By Jesus coming to earth, He becomes the perfect revelation of God. Jesus uncovers the character of God to an unbelieving world. He brings light to where there was only darkness. Jesus dispels the hopelessness of sin and death and replaces it with the hope of eternity. Jesus is the ultimate reflection of God. When we see Jesus, we see God.
Second Candle – King of Kings/Lord of lords Col. 1:15 Firstborn over creation
the firstborn over all creation
In ancient society, birth order was extremely important. The firstborn was given the place of authority within the household. Paul is describing the firstborn status of a king’s household. Jesus has been given a place that has authority over the entire scope of creation. Jesus is over absolutely everything.
Jesus is supreme and has all authority under heaven and on earth. Jesus will one day be proclaimed as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Why will this be the case? Jesus is the firstborn over creation. Jesus came from the kingdom of Heaven and arrived here on earth to reveal the kingdom of heaven to humanity. Following the resurrection, Jesus ascended back to heaven and He will return from Heaven to make all things new.
Third Candle – Resurrection and the Life Col. 1:18 Firstborn from the dead
the firstborn from among the dead
Jesus is the beginning of God’s resurrection work. The reality of resurrection starts with an empty outside of Jerusalem. Jesus is the first to experience the power of the resurrection and because He lives we have hope. Others were raised from the dead but they would return to the grave. Only Jesus has died and now lives through a bodily resurrection because He lives we can have life.
Jesus will be given the first place over all things by virtue of the resurrection. God exalted Jesus to the highest place. No one and nothing will ever be higher than Jesus. It is at the name of Jesus that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that He is Lord.
Fourth Candle – Son of God Col. 1:19 Fullness of God
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him
Christ is the personal embodiment of God on earth. Everything that we understand and love about God is expressed in Jesus. Jesus is the ultimate expression of God’s love – Jesus came and went to the cross. Jesus is the ultimate expression of God’s mercy – He gave Himself for us when we wanted nothing to do with Him. Jesus is the ultimate expression of God’s justice – Jesus took the punishment we deserved.