Summary: 1. Christmas is a time of light.
1. Christmas is a time of light.
a. Lights decorating homes and Christmas trees
b. Llights which transform Tecumseh Park>
c. Advent candles burning bright in churches.
d. Floodlights illuminating displays
2. But if the brightness of all the lights of Christmas could somehow be packaged and put into one bright light that light would pale to the one true light of Christmas. The one we have sung about this evening. The one who would later testify "I am the light of the world!"
3. When God created the heavens and the earth, darkness was over the earth. There was no life- it was formless and empty.
4. God said let there be light and the light came forth. Where did the light come from? Iit came from God but it appeared out of the darkness. Paul says that God said "Let light shine out of the darkness?"
a. The light did not come from without the darkness to chase it away as one might go outside on a dark night with flashlight in hand. It came out of the darkness.
5. The light was there in order that their could be life. God takes that which is empty and dark and fills it with life and light. And the light remains to sustain the life that God has created.
6. On that cold night in Galilee - the night was dark. The darkness of the night was all around. It was a dark world. Rome the power of evil had control over the land. The light of the hope of the people of Israel had gone out. The darkness of despair seemed so strong that there seemed to be no room for any light to enter, just as there had been no room for the God-child at the inn.
7. But in the midst of that darkness a light appears. The bright star points the way the a greater light. And again God says :Let light shine out of darkness." This time not to create the world but to recreate it. To again give life to that which is empty and dead.
8. Jesus says that He brings the light of life.
a. Paul tells us how He does this. God gives us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God IN THE FACE OF CHRIST.
9. In the face of Christ, in His becoming man and dwelling among us Jesus reveals the glory of God. He gives or illuminates, makes clear the knowledge we need in order to know the glory of God or God Himself.
10. John 17:26 "I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."
11. It is in the face of Christ that we see God in His glory. It is in the face of Christ::
a. - child lying in the manger
b. - healing the leper
c. - forgiving the sins of the paralytic
d. - feeding the five thousand on a mountainside and the twelve at the table
e. - washing the feet of His disciples
f. - breathing his last on that horrible cross
12. Thanks be to God for His Son. But although we may see the one who is the Light of Life, there is more. God made His light shine in our hearts.
a. The heart is the center of our being. It is in the heart that we hide our worst fear and our darkest thoughts. The heart carries about the scars of life on this earth - the loneliness, the pain, the sins committed, the sins received, the emptiness, the meaningless, the despair
b. God lets His light shine in our hearts to dispel the darkness. Not from without but from within. For the light again shines out of the darkness.
13. If we did not have darkness, we would not need to see the light. Unless we see our sin we do not need the God who forgives. Unless we have no hopelessness, we would not need the message of hope.
14. If we did not see our sickness, we would not need the one who heals.
15. Turn off the lights in this sanctuary and a solitary candle will seem to shine much brighter than before. The candle and its light has not changed. It shines the same. The light of God does not change. But it seems to offer more light when our lights seem turned off or dimmed.
16. And so, as much as we seek to run away from the darkness and hide it and pretend it does not exist, let us rather thank God for all things.
a. For the dark night so we can enjoy the sunrise.