Summary: Christmas - (Confessions of a Christmas Lover)
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 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 the He share in the social functions of both the prestigious and the plain? Was it so important 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 as just good feelings but deep down wonder if they can withstand reality?…that 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 John 1:1-2, 4-5, 10, 12-14, 18 offers the big picture…his
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. John’s words capture the deeper storyline; He provides the cosmic treatment which can be laid upon the events of that timeless night.
“WORD” of God
Pre existent…always and fully God…what has been revealed is not simply a powerless object in print. Word is the very agent of creation. Gen 1 Lord spoke and Ps. 33:6 “By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made”, so it is, just God’s Word established the reality of creation,…so again the reality of himself in the flesh to recreate…Though our world may reflect the darkness and digression of a world gone wrong…THIS WORD IS A REVELATION OF THE REAL THING. Word of God…entered a silent night
…yet spoke volumes and still speaks volumes. This word was spoken in the midst of simplicity and silence…perhaps because our questions are deeper within… because God was and is speaking to the quiet places of our souls…like the pauses of the poet…he uses the quiet backdrop so that we might hear. Christmas, John makes clear, isn’t simply about God’s visit. It’s the night God put the world into perspective. In the coming of Christ our sentiments are not only given place…they are filled with substance…with reality. It’s the wonderful night to end our deepest wondering. It’s the night that while the world slept, everything changed.
At Christmas, DO WE SENSE THAT OUR WORLD IS NOT FULLY LOST AND LEFT ABANDONED…DO WE SENSE THE PRESENCE OF ANOTHER SPIRIT IN OUR MIDST? A HOPE? John declares the reality…GOD IS WITH US. In Jesus, our planer is filled with God’s purpose and penetrating presence. Our tiny planet matter to God….It’s filled with is purpose…penetrating presence…as the power of God’s Spirit continues the ministry of Christ continues to its purpose…Peace on Earth, Good Will Towards Men is not just a good Christmas card…not merely a slogan or sentiment…it has substance…reality…for God blessed the earth. GOD WITH US.
At Christmas, DO WE SENSE OUR LIVES ARE GIVEN MEANING…THAT WE RISE TO A SENSE IN OURSELVES AND SEE IN OTHERS A GREATER VALUE? John declares the reality…GOD VALUES US. In Jesus, God reveals the reality of human dignity…a worth beyond our merits. Not the super powers…nor to those who did “power churches” but a small nation…a peculiar people…displaced couple…shepherds. IN JESUS GOD DECLARES DIGNITY UPON THE OVERWORKED, OUT OF WORK, CEO…vulnerable to finding merit…homeless…