Summary: This is a Christmas sermon in poetry, reflecting on the progression of thought in describing Christ’s birth as the Gospels were written. I wrote it to describe questions from a member.
Christmas Eve, December 25, 2007 - All Gospels
Grace be unto you and peace, from God our Father and from our Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Let us pray: Dear Heavenly Father, Creator of the universe and author of life on this planet we call earth, we gather in your presence this holy night to lift our hearts in praise and devotion to you for the birth of your Son, Jesus the Christ. Through the power of your Holy Spirit, grant us humble hearts, that we might come to see, cradled in the Gospels, your gift of redeeming grace. Enable us to grow in faith, and to embrace others with the love you have shown us. This we ask, in Jesus name. Amen.
Tonight, we again gather, on this holy eve,
To celebrate in faith, what we’ve come to believe,
That in this child, to whom Mary came to give birth,
God’s promised Messiah, made his advent to earth.
So let us all pause, to ponder this great event,
And seek to discern, what the Gospel writers meant,
As they sought to describe, our Lord’s incarnation,
When God’s Son came to the earth, for our salvation.
For there is a progression, of thought taking place,
As the authors of the Gospels, came to embrace,
The difficult challenge, of giving description,
To the birth of God’s Son, which defies ascription.
For we must acknowledge, as we worship this night,
That our minds are as dim, as the soft candlelight,
To understand the gift, of God’s redeeming grace,
Much less describe, how he entered, our human race.
Yet each of the Gospels, in the story they told,
Proclaim that in Jesus, God’s presence we behold,
As they came to perceive, in the life he did live,
His divine ability, our sins, to forgive.
So tonight, let’s follow, this progression of thought,
That each of the Gospels, to our insight has brought,
A growth in faith, to help us gain deeper insight,
Into the mystery, we celebrate, this night.
In the first Gospel written, Mark chose to ignore,
Christ’s birth all together, and that which came before,
His baptism by John, shown to inaugurate,
The ministry to which, his life, he’d dedicate.
Still, at our Lord’s baptism, Mark came to exclaim,
Through a heavenly voice, that did clearly proclaim,
That Jesus was God’s Son, in whom he took delight,
Thus bringing his divine, incarnation to light.
And as our Lord’s ministry, began to unfold,
As Mark recorded in faith, for us to behold,
We are led, through those events, to come to believe,
That in Christ Jesus, God’s presence, we can perceive.
For as Mark’s Gospel ends, with Christ’s crucifixion,
A centurion, e’en comes to the conviction,
That this person, that he, had nailed to a tree,
Was truly God’s Son, who from our sin, sets us free,
The next Gospel written, addresses Jesus’ birth,
To help us understand, our Lord’s advent to earth,
As God’s plan to redeem, Abraham’s progeny,
By recording Christ’s human, genealogy.
For Matthew asserts, ‘twas through God’s ordination,
Revealed through the ages, for human salvation,
That Jesus’ incarnation, was deemed to take place,
At this time in history, to reveal God’s grace.
Yet ‘tis Matthew’s point, in tracing Jesus’ birthright,
That we might, in faith, come to expand our insight,
That through this child’s life, death and resurrection,
A new people would be formed, through God’s election.
For Matthew was convinced, faith in Christ would replace,
Abraham’s ancestral tree, by all who embrace,
The redeeming grace of God, that Jesus would give,
Through his death on the cross, the world’s sins to forgive.
Though Christ was a descendent, of Israel’s past,
Matthew knew the prophecy, which Isaiah cast,
That a new order of life, we’d come to behold,
Through the child of a virgin, long ago, foretold.
And So Matthew was the first Gospel, which proclaimed,
That our Lord’s incarnation, might well be explained,
Through the prophecy, that a virgin would conceive,
As the means by which, God’s presence we might receive.
The next Gospel written, is the one read tonight,
Luke’s Christmas message, which carries on the insight,
That Matthew first proposed, about the virgin birth,
As the means of our Lord’s, incarnation to earth.
But Luke has a penchant, for providing detail,
That his readers might come, through his book to avail,
Themselves of the orderliness, he did discern,
In the prophecy of Scripture, he came to learn.
Thus, Luke’s Gospel begins, with another advent,
That before our Lord’s birth, someone else would be sent,
To prepare the way, our human hearts to receive,
The coming of God’s Son, the prophets did perceive.
Thus he envisions, that the birth of John took place,
According to God’s scheme, of his redeeming grace,
In order that the people, might come to behold,