Summary: A midnight Holy Communion address about the significance of the Nativity for us & the world
Hebrews 1: 1 - 4
Isaiah 9: 2 - 7
Luke 2: 1 - 7
The writer of the Hebrews letter or epistle gets excited at the start. He says this is how things were, but now WOW! Maybe because we have heard all of this, the story of Christmas and the incarnation, we lose some of excitement he felt. We take for granted that Jesus came to take on human flesh, to live and then to die in the most horrendous of state authorized murders.
Tonight I want us to pause to think for just a few moments about the significance of this Nativity, to consider just how amazing it is for us and the world.
The writer of Hebrews acknowledges that in the past God spoke to people, but through bushes, clouds and pillars of fire. He spoke via prophets and teachers and inspired men and even sometimes women.
He spoke, but somehow it was never enough. There was always confusion, the nagging question that troubles all of us who feel we have heard the voice of God - was it really God, my imagination or even worse?
Sometimes God had to speak twice on the same subject - because the leaders got it wrong. The Bible has the stringent one could say racist tones of Nehemiah, but we will never understand God’s message until we have balanced this with books like Ruth and Jonah.
To make amends for the past and the future of humanity, at just the right time, God sent His Son to make sure the message got through. As the Gospel of John so poetical puts it the Word became flesh, why, because words alone are not enough.
Lots of people have heard His voice. In the wisdom of the Sermon on the Mount, the gentle acceptance in infant baptism, and the assurance of love and even in the condemnation and otherness of the gospels.
Yet hearing is, and as only ever been, part of the story. Today if you hear the voice of Jesus and just walk away unchanged, then Jesus might as well never have spoken to you.
God has spoken remarkably through His own Son. The One through whom creation happened, the One who sustains all by His powerful word. He comes as a helpless baby in a dirty stable to be one of us.
And why has He spoken?
So that we might hear of His love, taste His forgiveness and experience His rebirth. Then - and only then - we are called to share this with the world.
Amongst the saddest facts of Christian history is that so many dismiss or reject or put off responding to the gracious word of God spoken so clearly in Jesus.
Hearing the voice of Christ and not benefiting from His work is a scandal. Feeling love and forgiveness and not sharing it is a disgrace the Church has been part of for too long. Don’t what ever else you miss out on this year miss out on His work for you.
Christ Jesus came then to us as a child to die. What a truly amazing incredible God!
Knowing what He had to do, He still came.
Yet billions will ignore Christ and live tonight and tomorrow without Him.
Billions tonight will make themselves like the Jews - waiting so long for a Messiah, and then unable to accept His coming. Caught in a phase where waiting is better than receiving. Kind of like the Advent Calendars our children and grandchildren have being better than Christmas morning - how sad and how stupid. Like in Narnia the CS Lewis story made into the film last year where there is forever winter but no Christmas.
Tonight let us all here and all who will read this later on the internet invite Jesus into our hearts so that we don’t just have winter but Christmas. So that tomorrow with your Christmas lights and meal and Santa and gifts you have the reason for the season too.
So there is a challenge for us all. Amongst the busyness of Christmas – the clatter and activity of our celebrations - find time to respond to voice of Jesus. Let Him speak to you and live changed for all eternity because of it. I promise a gift far better than the waiting, if only you ask Jesus to come and live in you.