Summary: When Jesus came to this world there was no room for him. But, because he came, now Heaven's Gate is open wide so that whosoever will may come. A more generous, open hearted, inclusive invitation has never been extended.
The Heart Goes Home For Christmas. (Suitable for Christmas Eve).
Just about everyone wants to go home for Christmas. There may be extra time and expense involved, but it is certainly worth it all. No one tries any harder to make it happen than Mom and Dad, because parental love has a way of going the second mile in bringing the family together.
“Always the heart goes home on Christmas Eve...
Goes silently across the continent, or mountains or the sea.
A heart will leave the glitter of a city street,
and sent, by something deep and timeless,
find a way to a little cottage on a country hill.
And even if the cottage may have disappeared,
a heart will find it still.” (Author unknown.)
I thank God for each and every one who has come to this place of worship on this Christmas Eve. And the fact that so many people, of all ages and backgrounds, have taken time out of their busy schedules to come, tells us that there is something very special about this night. Praise God, we can celebrate the most profound and wonderful news ever brought to planet earth! The staggering claim, that the great God and Creator of the universe, crashed into human history, eternity entered time, through the birth pangs of a virgin mother, who found favour with God.
And this is what Christmas is all about – coming home! God, who so loved the world, went far beyond the limits of human comprehension to bring us home to Himself. God created this beautiful world for humanity, his crown of creation, to enjoy. His original plan was for us to live in perfect harmony, peace, joy and love. But clearly, something very tragic has taken place so that everywhere we look we see broken hearts and homes, broken dreams and relationships. Selfish sin entered the human heart and man chose to declare his independence from God's perfect will.
But God did not turn his back on mankind and leave us to the fate of our own folly. At that first Christmas, Christ came “out of the ivory palaces, into this world of woe.” Christmas means that in spite of our hell deserving guilt, even though the holiness and justice of God could not permit sin to go unpunished; yet his love yearned for us from the foundation of the world and permitted that judgement to fall upon his own Son. And than as we turn to Him in repentance and faith we can find forgiveness and the assurance of eternal life.
O yes, we've all heard this story of the manger cradle, shepherds, wise men and star so often that it does not grip us, does not excite us, the way it should. But, at that first Christmas, 2000 years ago, a light came into our troubled world and all the darkness of sin and sadness has never been able to put it out. And this message of faith, hope and love is very much needed in the lives of all of us here tonight. God knows every one of us by name. He knows all about our hopes and dreams, our fears and failures. And His ears are open to the cry of people here tonight who are facing sorrow, loneliness, temptations, problems over health, finances, even unemployment.
And Christmas reminds us that we are not asked to trust a far-off God, cold and indifferent to our needs. On that first Christmas Eve, He became our Emmanuel, our God with us. And he wrote his greatest message of love, not with words, but with drops of blood, shed in agony and death. An empty tomb proves His immeasurable victory over sin, hell and death. Oh yes, in our cynical, unbelieving world, this good news does not make sense. Why should God, show such love and grace to a thankless, heartless humanity? But that only proves that this story of Jesus Christ and his gift of salvation is not man made. Only God, could demonstrate a love like that. We can only marvel at mankind's reluctance to believe and accept God's free Christmas gift.
Have you ever been homesick? It is a vexing feeling and yet there is something warm and meaningful about it. We are reminded of better days. So, in the realm of the spirit; there will be moments in your life when you will be homesick for God. Deep within your heart there is a hunger which all the trinkets and pleasures of this world can never satisfy. As C. S. Lewis pointed, out, “If I have longings and desires which nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”
Certainly, there is no other time of the year when so many memories of home and childhood are awakened in our hearts, as at Christmas. You remember the innocent faith you had then, in contrast to the cynicism and carnality of our world today. Perhaps your heart is saying,