Summary: A sermon about being Christ to those around us.
“God Moved into the Neighborhood”
John 1:1-5, 14
A couple of years ago on Christmas Eve, a teenager named Karla felt called to go to a nearby nursing home.
She went from room to room, offering to read the Christmas story from the Gospels.
After reading, she prayed with the residents and then moved on to the next room.
She came to a room that was dark; the lights were off and the shades were drawn.
She hesitated to go in but then noticed a woman sitting on the edge of the bed in the darkness, her hands folded in her lap, as though she were waiting for someone or something.
Karla asked if she could come in and read the Christmas story, and the woman whispered, “Yes.”
After reading about the birth of Jesus, Karla prayed with the woman and then invited her to join in the Lord’s Prayer.
Karla wished her a Merry Christmas and slipped out of the room.
As she left, Karla heard the woman weeping quietly.
She turned and stood at the door for a moment and heard the woman praying, “Lord, you didn’t forget me. I prayed that you wouldn’t forget me, and you didn’t.”
Karla went back into the room, wrapped her arms around the woman, and held her as she wept.
There in the darkness, light had come.
It came because God so loves the world.
It came because the Word of God was born—as a flesh and blood human in Bethlehem.
It came because Karla had seen the light and felt compelled to share it.
Christmas is not only light piercing our darkness—it is also a calling from God to take His light into the world.
After-all, the God Who created the world “became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.”
This is how much God loves you and me and the person down the street and around the world.
The most exciting thing in the world is sharing this good news, through loving action!!!
Hate, violence, bigotry, war, poverty, disease, sin and even death seem so often to rule the world.
But Jesus has come to us to dispel the darkness with His light and His love.
Sean was an outstanding musician before drugs took everything from him.
Sean sold all his instruments to feed his speed habit.
He had lost all his jobs because he would often steal to buy more drugs.
One day someone who cared about Sean invited him to come to church.
Sean said he would go, but he didn’t have a ride.
The person who invited Sean said, “That’s no problem. I can pick you up,” and he asked Sean where he lived.
Sean didn’t think another thing about it.
That Sunday, the man came through--he knocked on the door of a burned out old building in a dreary part of town.
A young woman answered the door.
As she was rubbing sleep out of her eyes the man spoke up: “I’m here to pick up Sean for church.”
“He’s asleep but I’ll tell him,” was the young woman’s response.
In 15 minutes, Sean was in the car with his new friend.
They were on their way to church.
The man had to admit that he was pleasantly surprised that Sean went with him.
He was even more surprised when Sean came back again and again and again.
Even though Sean was going to church, he was still getting high on speed.
His friend offered to take him to a rehab center, but Sean didn’t like that idea and begged for another option.
“Well, there is one other radical option we could try,” his friend told him.
“Great! What is it?” asked Sean.
“You can get in my car right now and you can tell your drug dealer about Jesus.”
Sean smiled because he didn’t know if he should take his friend seriously…but he was serious: “Listen Sean,” he said, “there is darkness in your life.
And the only thing that can overcome darkness is light.”
That day Sean told his drug dealer about Jesus.
She was a mother of three who supplied drugs for the local kids.
From that point on, Sean never took any drugs.
He was free.
The power of the Gospel, received and given to others transformed his heart.
Sean’s dealer didn’t become a Christian that day, but her 14-year-old son did.
A year or so later, Sean heard that she too become a Christian.
Anything can happen when we bring God into our neighborhood!!!
I know that many of us see miracles happening all around us due to God using the ministries of this church for the building of His Kingdom.
And so many times we don’t even know in what ways God is bringing His Light into our world through what you all do.