Summary: Do we realize the great difference between the time prior to Christ, and His arrival? Either in time or in our lives, or even before his second coming
Concordia Lutheran Church
Christmas Eve Mass 2009
Into the darkness shines the great Light!
† IN JESUS NAME †
May Jesus Christ so enlighten your life that everything that all that is dark, or causes fear or concerned is so seen, that you know the gifts of mercy love and peace that comes from the Father.
A walk in a dark winter’s night…
It was a long walk, along a small dark cold New England road. There was no traffic, no cars or trucks that would break the stillness, that would provide some light, and something to break the silence.
As the walk trudged up the road, the air whistling through leaf empty trees made noises that brought fear that was as cold as the iced over snow banks that blocked vision.
The journey continued up the next hill, past the hillside historic cemetery, the caps of the headstones barely poking above the stone. The familiar site didn’t provide comfort, but increased anxiety, and the concern whether the destination would ever be reached, and if the night would end in frozen, lonely death.
Thirty minutes later, passed empty fields and dark houses, the single porch light at end of the long driveway could be seen – and the fears left fast than the feet could travel across the snow covered gravel. Home, safety, warmth, peace, life, soon embraced the very cold, very tired young man – but it was the light, shining through the darkness, that lifted the spirit, and gave hope…
Even more, the hope that is seen this night, as we celebrate His Light entering the world, ripping open a dark and hopeless world, and filling it with the love of God.
The darkness of life without Christ
In the reading form, the book of Isaiah this evening, the birth of a little child is compared not to a lonely porch light, but a great light of the sun, removing any hint of darkness.
The difference, as incredible it might seem, is perhaps understated.
The people of God had been torn into two rival kingdoms, and one of them taken into captivity. We learn in scripture that the remnant, two of twelve tribes, were oppressed from other nations. Morally, they were bankrupt, having so turned away from God that their king sacrificed his son, to the false gods of their oppressors. Sin and injustice seemed to reign, and poverty and hunger ravaged those who remained.
700 years later, in the same area of the world, in situations as bleak, the light would envelop poor workers on fields outside a little tiny town. Myriads of angels would appear, and announce the incredible news that… a baby was born?
I am trying to picture the shepherds, as they heard this news. Can you imagine, in the midst of the news reports of these last months, as they share of companies collapsing, and the stock market plunging, and of record numbers of people losing their homes and others losing their jobs, a news anchor saying , “Don’t fear – you see this baby was just born over in Buena Park”?
Would our reaction be to drop everything – and race over to knott and citrus to see this miracle?
Yet, the babies birth, and His life, two thousand years ago, is important enough for you to come here tonight, this late, to share in song, and in a small meal of Bread and Wine, and we commune with Christ’s Body and Blood.
I want you to walk away from this altar tonight, realizing the light that has shined into your life, because indeed, God was born, took on flesh and blood, and laid in a manger.
We are no longer lost, following gods of our own creation. The fears of being alone, replaced by the joy of being home, with God our Father. The guilt and shame of our past – erased by the death of the baby, on a cross cruder even then the manger that he was laid into.
For into your life, where darkness once overwhelmed, a light has shined.
For for you, a child was born, to you, the Son of God was given. And the responsibility for your life is laid upon Him.
For He is wonderful,
And He is the Comforter, the one who walks besides you giving you strength
He is our Everlasting Father, our all powerful God
And His rule leaves us resting peacefully
It goes on – God will establish His reign, a reign of justice, of righteousness, which will go on forever. The light has not just invaded the darkness, it demolished it, Sin, satan, death, fear, guilt, shame, all of it banished with the darkness and we are bathed in the love of God, the God who calls us to abide with Him…