Summary: What has 2020 and Covid 19 been in your life? What will 2021 be in your life. We need to be thankful for the gifts of God that brought us through 2020. We must focus on the gifts to be a light unto the world for 2021 and give thanks!

ECC Dec 24 2020

Christmas Eve Message, Jeremiah 29:11, John 14:27, John 16:22, John 3: 16, Matthew 5:16

I do not think, and just about everyone I know, have ever been so anxious to see a year come to an end! I have been asking folks how they feel about 2020? The responses are all pretty much the same, not much good has been associated with this year, especially these last 10 months. Covid 19 is the culprit for the responses. The number one reason for the responses of covid is the death toll it has taken in our country.

Others is seeing lifelong dreams of people’s businesses suffering and even closing down for good. The financial burden it has placed on folks, the loss of jobs, and housing, basic needs. The closing of houses of worship for 13 weeks or more, funeral homes restricted for services, no visitation of loved ones in hospitals and nursing homes. Families not being able to gather, no hugs, no contact other than by duo, face time phone or zoom.

Despite these responses I asked what good has come from this pandemic. Answers, it has taught us how to adapt to new work environments at home, to come together to combat this virus. Appreciating our schools and teachers much more. To hold others to be responsible for their own welfare and others as well. How to breathe and function wearing a mask. To be thankful for our ability through science and medicine to produce a vaccine in record time. To be more aware of the needs of people and how we can help those in need.

Even so, through all the good and the bad of 2020 here we are tonight, in the house of God. Preparing to welcome the birth of our Savior and Lord Jesus. It is by God’s grace and providence that we gather here.

We have lit the candles of hope, peace, joy and love on our advent candle wreath. Each of these 4 are the gifts of our Father that has brought us through this pandemic to date. Not only this pandemic but any and all events and circumstances in our lives. Let us examine by God’s word why we must focus on each.

We need to focus on the hope in Christ, it is clear in, Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” The future holds new hope, new plans each day in Christ.

Focus on the peace that passes all understanding that God gives to us. It is hard to comprehend or understand how our world can seem to be collapsing around us yet we can be perfectly calm and completely composed. The peace of God can provide that immense blessing. Jesus said, in John 14:27, "My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.” We may rest in His peace.

Focus on the joy of knowing an assurance from God that nothing can separate us from the love of God which is through Christ Jesus our Lord. We have this great joy. True joy is a gift from God, not the false joy the world claims to give. Hear the word of Jesus in John 16:22 “And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” KJV Tonight we sang Joy to the World

Focus on the love of God. He loves you just the way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you that way. So, you come to God just as you are and let Him clean you from the inside out. Remember this, never let it escape your hearts and minds. John 3: 16 NIV ”For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” NIV

Picture in your minds and hearts the lack of any one of these gifts, where would we be? So as we prepare to say good bye to 2020 reflect on these gifts that has strengthened you and yours and be thankful for all we have and all God has done.

Tonight is a special night as we prepare to light the Christ candle, the light of the world found in a babe in a manger. My prayer for each of us is we take this light from this building tonight out into the world and let it shine from you with hope, peace, joy and love. Make 2021 your year to do as Jesus said in Matt 5:16” Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” God bless you all and Merry Christmas! Amen!

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