Summary: This all-age talk for Christmas Day is based around a game of ’Name that Tune’. Each of the 5 tunes, once guessed, help to build up the sermon which ends asking people to invite Jesus into their lives if they’ve not already done so.
(The big idea: The point of this all-age sermon is that Jesus is totally unique! There is no-one like him. He alone reveals God to humanity and he alone reveals God’s plans for us. Just like a piece of music the more we listen to it and get to know it the more its unique qualities become obvious. It is true that sometimes an artist copies something and that is plagiarism, but this talk makes use of the game of ‘Name that Tune’ in order to draw out the fact that the better we listen, and the more we get to know the tune, the more familiar and recognisable it becomes. So it is with us as get to know Jesus, the unique, one and only begotten Son.
The Game: Any amplified instrument will do. We used a saxophone but a piano, trumpet, clarinet etc. would be great. Divide the Church into two teams with team leaders. Team ‘One’ hears 1 note and tries to name the tune. If they can’t team ‘Two’ hear 2 notes and so on until the tune is guessed. Keep the score and allow Team ‘Two’ to hear the 1st note of the 2nd tune etc.)
Tune 1: How great thou art!
O Lord my God when I in awesome wonder, consider all the works your hand has made. I see the stars, I hear the mighty thunder; your power throughout the universe displayed!
I very nearly began with Louis Armstrong’s ‘What a wonderful world’. God’s power, God’s glory is revealed in so many ways as we look at the world around us. In Genesis - the first book of the Bible – we read this: “God saw all that he had made and it was very good” (Genesis 1: 31). God loves this world that he has made so very much (John 3:16)!
Tune 2: Darth Vader’s Imperial March tune.
Star Wars: When he was a boy Anakin Skywalker was a hero and a force for good. He obeyed the teachings of his master and avoided those things which were not good for him. However, as a man he chose to do wrong, to do evil, and it consumed him.
In the Garden of Eden – at first - Adam and Eve lived as God intended, which included avoiding what God said was wrong. However, they gave in to temptation. Sin entered their lives and entered our world. We read in St. Paul’s letter to the Roman Church (3:23) that all of us “have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. For grown-ups especially it is a problem of the heart, and it is easy to become consumed with getting as much money as possible, or moving to another even bigger house, or owning the flashiest car in the street, or simply ignoring the plight of people on our doorsteps who need to be loved. We’ve all sinned and failed to live up to God’s ways, Vicars included!
Tune 3: Once in Royal David’s City.
The 4th verse reads like this: “For he is our childhood’s pattern; day by day like us he grew. He was little, weak and helpless, tears and smiles like us he knew; and he feel[s] for our sadness and he share[s] in our gladness.” Jesus knows about life!
In the 2nd verse of the same carol are the words, “He came down to earth from heaven. [He] is God and Lord of all.” In order to help us men and women out our predicament God did not look down from heaven and think, “Who shall I send? Where’s my volunteer?” God sent himself. In the N/T letter to the Hebrews we learn that Jesus “is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being” (Heb 1:3). God performed the ridiculous, and yet at the same time performed the supreme act of love. God wrapped himself in human flesh. God the Son – Jesus – descended from Israel’s King David was born in poverty in a cow shed in Bethlehem.
Tune 4: From heaven you came!
Graham Kendrick’s excellent song: From the 2nd verse, “There in the garden of tears my heavy load he chose to bear” and in verse 3, “Come see his hands and his feet; the scars that speak of sacrifice. Hands that flung stars into space to cruel nails surrendered.”
The coming of Jesus into the world was literally a life and death rescue mission. The baby Jesus became Jesus the man who willingly took the sins of the world upon his shoulders. “Greater love has no-one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).
Tune 5: O little town of Bethlehem.
The word Bethlehem means ‘House of Bread’. It’s the place where Jesus was born. Isn’t it wonderful that later in his life Jesus said of himself, “I am the bread of life”! Bread satisfies our need for food. Jesus satisfies our spiritual needs. We need to know that God loves us and we need to know that forgiveness is possible. Jesus shows us the love of God and brings us God’s forgiveness. It’s God’s Christmas gift to us, but like a gift of a season ticket we need to accept the gift and make use of it. If you haven’t yet accepted God’s Christmas gift to you, can I encourage you to pray these words with me?