Summary: Here's a Christmas sermon that includes a touching story.
The Voices of Christmas
1 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered.
2This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria.
3So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.
4Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David,
5to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.
6So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.
7And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
8Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
10Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.
11For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."
13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:
14"Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"
15So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the
shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this
thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us."
16And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying
in a manger.
17Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which
was told them concerning this Child.
18And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
20Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
Allow me to begin by reading you a story!
Henry Barlow had been a long time member of the church but refused to show up for services. Henry was considered to be an important part of the Christmas Choir, but would not attend rehearsals. Still, everyone looked forward to seeing him once a year. So much, in fact, they would hold a seat for him at the candlelight service every Christmas Eve. Many of the congregation would arrive early to get a good seat nearby the gentleman.
Was it his personality? No, he really kept to himself rarely sharing a word with anyone. It was his voice. “Oh Holy Night” was his song. Although the spirit of Christmas had left his heart years ago with the passing of his wife, this one song, those special lyrics, belonged to him. It was said that it was her favorite song and although poor, the richness of his voice was his gift to her. This church, that night, was always theirs.
As the service progressed anticipation would build. Everyone joined in singing “Silent Night,” “Oh Little Town of Bethlehem” and others. Then the big moment would arrive. The choir would stand and the church organ would begin to play. “O holy night, the stars are brightly shining” was the intro sung by the 12-member choir. Then, as if Heaven had open its doors, the choir softly faded and Henry began to sing…
“It is the night of the dear Savior’s birth!
Long lay the world in sin and error pining,
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth.
A thrill of hope, the weary soul rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.”
You could feel the excitement as music began to build to the refrain…
“Fall on your knees, O hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born!
O night, O holy night, O night divine!”
By this time there was never a dry eye. After the service Henry would blend into the crowd and exit the rear door.
More of that story a little later!
The title of today’s sermon is “The Voices of Christmas”.
Point #1. Voices were heard in Bethlehem
Luke 2:1-7 And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. 3 So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. 4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.