[SANCTUARY OR OTHER ROOM BEGINS AS DARK AS POSSIBLE]
A LARGER CANDLE AT CENTER STAGE
A PERSON READING OR TELLING THE STORY
A HELPER TO LIGHT AND BLOW OUT THE CANDLE
** = INDICATES WHEN TO LIGHT THE CANDLE
*** = INDICATES WHEN TO BLOW THE CANDLE OUT
This Christmas Eve, I would like to share from the Scriptures, a story all about light.
Our story about light begins at the very beginning. You see…
Genesis 1:1-5 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters. 3 And God said, "Let there be light”** and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light "day," and the darkness he called "night." And there was evening, and there was morning-- the first day.
But the light that God created did not burn for long until it was snuffed out. For you see, human beings went our own way and did what we wanted, when we wanted, how we wanted, and with whom we wanted.
Genesis 3:6-10 When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. *** 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. 8 Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the LORD God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the LORD God among the trees of the garden. 9 But the LORD God called to the man, "Where are you?" 10 He answered, "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid."
To be honest, light is God’s Creation and it is not in our power to extinguish it completely. Later in Genesis it tells us that in the days of Seth son of Adam that “men began to call on the name of the Lord” ** (Genesis 4:26). The light continued.
Men continue to live and the people of God came to be in Egypt. It seemed that the light would go out.
Exodus 1:12-16 But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites 13 and worked them ruthlessly. 14 They made their lives bitter *** with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly. 15 The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiphrah and Puah, 16 "When you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl, let her live."
Yet in that dark time. God provided for His people. He provided safety for a baby that would become the leader of His people.
God provided light in a physically dark world.
God provided light to lead the way through the dark world.
Exodus 10:22-23 So Moses stretched ** out his hand toward the sky, and total darkness covered all Egypt for three days. 23 No one could see anyone else or leave his place for three days. Yet all the Israelites had light in the places where they lived.
Exodus 13:21-22 By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so they could travel by day or night. 22 Neither the pillar of cloud by day nor the pillar of fire by night left its place in front of the people.
As time went on, people forgot about the Lord their God. They began to look a lot like the world around them. They sounded like them. They dressed like them. They worshipped like them. *** They once again blew the light out. Along came Elijah who taunted the prophets of the false gods… who are not gods at all, but wood and stone made by the hands of men (Isaiah 37:19).
Those gods did not answer.
Those gods could not provide light in a physically dark world.
Those gods could not provide light to lead the way through the dark world.
1 Kings 18:36-39 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again." 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell ** and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 39 When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, "The LORD-- he is God! The LORD-- he is God!"
For awhile the light burned bright, but again people began to go their own way and live their own way. Desire crept in. Sin crept in. Death crept in even more (James 1:15). To be honest, the light went out again. We got so that sin became our bond. *** We need God to give us relief. Permanent relief. We need God to give us salvation. Permanent salvation.
The basic truth is that we need God to shed light into our lives. Left up to ourselves, we tarnish the image of God created inside each of us. We need God. We need Him to fix what we broke in the Garden of Eden.
Psalm 4:6- 4:8 Many are asking, "Who can show us any good?" Let the light of your face shine upon us, O LORD. 7 You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. 8 I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
We cannot relight this by ourselves. We are not worthy. I hope you understand that. We are sinners. We were made to walk side by side with Him in fellowship and it was all blown out because we sinned.
Lord, light the fire.
Lord, light something so that we can see in this dark world.
Our story about light gains hope at a place none other than where we began. And where did we begin? We began at the beginning of all things. You see…
John 1:1-9 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of men. ** 5 The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. 6 There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John. 7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light so that through him all men might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light. 9 The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
You see, the story about light is really a story about Jesus Christ. Our world is a dark and dreary place. It is a place full of self-serving desires which lead to dead end roads and everything unclean.
Jesus was the answer provided at the beginning before the question was even asked.
Jesus was the salvation provided before we even knew we needed saving.
Jesus was and is the light.
What does this mean for us?
Jesus told us.
Matthew 5:14-16 "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.
The eternal life that Jesus brought to us began on Christmas when He arrived as a baby. The song we are about to sing recounts that “radiant beams from thy Holy face” came from Jesus. The light that beamed from Jesus is the eternal promise given from God to us. He gives us “redeeming grace” and Jesus’ birth was the beginning and dawn of that grace.
We must now share that light. We must share our faith in Him.
We must share the message about the birth of Jesus.
We must share the message about the life of Jesus.
We must share the message about the death of Jesus.
We must share the message about the resurrection of Jesus.
We must not light our lamps and hide it or snuff it out or fail to share in any way. It is too important of a story… all about light.
AT THIS TIME, SERVERS COME FORWARD AND LIGHT THEIR CANDLES TO SHARE WITH THE CONGREGATION
CANDLES ARE LIT IN CONGREGATION AS ‘SILENT NIGHT’ or other song IS SUNG
THE CANDLE REMAINS LIT DURING THE SERVICE AS A REMINDER.