Summary: Do we know the real story of Christmas? Surprisingly not. We also don’t really know who Jesus really is - God himself. I also draw from the traditional christmas passages in Luke and Matt
Rev. 22:13 I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.
These are the words of Jesus Christ, as recorded in the book of Revelation.They are bold. They are confident. They are all encompassing. They speak of a powerful dominating being.
One who says, you want to know reality – look no further – I’m your man.
Its Christmas Eve, the night we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Is that how you think of Jesus Christ tonight? Bold. Confident. All encompassing.
Its hard to think beyond the event of Christmas Eve, isn’t it?
Our whole family was able to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. It was the first time everyone was there in about 15 years. Several of my nieces and nephews are in college or just out of college. It was somewhat of a shock seeing them. I still have that little kid image in my head of them. Intellectually, I know they are older, accomplished…
But I’m still stuck, in some way, with how I remember them long ago.
Does that happen to you too? Why is that?…..I think, one thing might be that there are wonderful memories, great memories of those people being those wonderful ages, they were cute, innocent, full of life.
Isn’t the story of Christ’s birth like that too? There we see Jesus in the manger – and to some degree, there he stays, cute, innocent, full of life. Even though the Bible clearly tells us so much more about who Jesus is, so much more than God come to earth as an infant.
You know we hear what the Bibles says, we do, on some level, understand Jesus is more than the Christmas story, but it is tough to get past the image we see everywhere around us. It is tough to get past event of the manger.
The two of them were best friends in seminary, studying together, helping each other financially when one or the other got in a pinch, they stood by each other through thick and thin.
When they graduated from seminary both coincidentally received a church call within the same state: Louisiana, Bob got a church in the north part of the state and Bill got a church in the south. Life was great. Every Wednesday they would met in the middle of the state and fish, hunt for gaiters, or just go shooting. They did this for many years and as they were nearing retirement, one day Pastor Bill said to Pastor Bob, I can’t think of anyone else I would like to do my funeral. Pastor Bob said to Pastor Bill, I feel the same way, I can’t think of anyone better than you to my funeral. So they agreed that whoever should go first, the other would do the funeral.
It came to pass that Pastor Bob passed away first and so Pastor Bill came up to do the funeral. Upon his arrival, he was met by one of the church ladies, Evelyn. Evelyn needed desperately to meet with Pastor Bill. It seems Evelyn was at Pastor Bob’s bedside and his dying wish, in his last gasping breaths, was to have a final song sung at the end of the graveside committal – Jingle Bells. Pastor Bill said Jungle Bells – that’s crazy, Bob would have never said that, I’m not singing Jingle Bells at a graveside committal.
After some thought, Bill decided he had to sing Jingle Bells at the graveside committal, for it was after all, as crazy as it was, it was Bob’s dying request. The day of the funeral came and the church was packed, the funeral service went well; so well that everyone came to the graveside committal, which went very well with Pastor Bill ending it with, “Let’s all join in together and sing the song that was Pastor Bob’s dying request: Jingle Bells.” “Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way….no one else joined in except Evelyn, the church lady.
At the wake, as Pastor Bill sat alone, everyone distancing themselves from him – Evelyn, the church lady sat down beside him. “That was such a nice funeral…but you know, now that I think of it, I think Pastor Bob may have said, ‘please sing the song, The Bell Tolls For Thee’”
Sometime we hear….what wasn’t said.
We have all heard the Christmas story – we heard it read tonight again.
We hear it every year, we are so familiar with it. We know the “facts” about the Christmas story…..We think we know who Jesus is….or do we?
Well how about a quick Christmas quiz? Let’s see how much you know about the Christmas story: Are you ready? Tonight we will give our associate pastor, Ted the quiz - and you can play along with him.