Summary: A sermon about sensing the hope of Christmas even amidst dark times.
Intro…I’d like to begin with a confession tonight; an introduction in the tradition of a 12 step meeting; and those who know something of such meetings can help me out with your response. “My name is Brad and I’m a Christmas lover.”
I feel welcomed! And I do truly love Christmas. As I get older, it seems fewer things in life really capture my imagination the way they did in childhood. Certainly many things invite a significant level of interest but not with the sense of wonder and hope I knew as a child. Yet something begins to stir in my soul about this time every year. I can almost feel it in the wind at night. It speaks of something that has come to settle all of time…something defiantly invading and distinctly intimate. It is of course the timeless coming of Christ we call Christmas. Something about Christmas never looses its wonder. The social and secular activities may be exhausting but what lies at the core of this celebration excites my imagination no less than when first encountered. The Eternal becoming so timely, so tangible, so “touchy”. Did He have to begin in a womb like you and I? Was it essential that He share in the social functions of both the prestigious and the plain? Was it so important that He talk with a Samaritan woman about her hunger to be loved? Did he have to touch a leper?
There is a peace…a sense that for one night at least, everything is as it should be. A blessing has been bestowed on earth…peace…value…generosity…children…hope. Those sentiments are alive all over the world tonight, as millions celebrate. I wonder how we feel about these sentiments…Deep in our souls do we embrace them as just good feelings but wonder deep down if they can withstand reality? Do we wonder if they are a wishful warmth that must fade when the Christmas season is over?
> Tonight I believe God wants us to know that CHRISTMAS IS THE REAL THING…that it’s the Christmas in this world, not the cynicism that reveals the fullness of reality. The Apostle
John…who was a part of those who first encountered the child that was born in the stable offers the big picture of what was at hand…
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning. … In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
…  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. … Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
 No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” John 1:1-2, 4-5, 10, 12-14, 18
John’s offers nothing naïve…he sees the darkness…but he sees what is equally true…darkness has be enlightened. The Word of God became flesh. It was a great day in our history when a man first walked on the moon. But John reminds us that a far greater event took place when God walked on the earth. For in it…WE SEE THE REAL THING.