December 24, 2018

Christmas Eve

Service Type:

I love Christmas. My tree is up by thanksgiving.
My nativity sets put in their proper places and the stockings hung with care.
And as much as I love it there were times when I dreaded not Christmas itself but parts of Christmas.
You know Christmas can be brutal right?
And because of our emotions and because of our circumstances we can be beat up pretty hard at Christmas.

Ask anyone who was here on Sunday, December 9th for our Blue Christmas Worship Service.
The blue lighted tree out there has the names of about 40 people who have passed away into God’s nearer presence…
Put there by grievers whose Christmas has been turned upside down. we can miss Christmas – the real purpose and meaning of it because we are too can get caught up in grief.

And That night at the Blue Christmas Service I added my own bow with the name of my 33 year old cousin on it who died three days before from a heroin overdose.
His name is Felice – interesting and ironic. How many times have you heard the song Felice Navidad.
Each time a new knife through the heart.
And I ask myself how can this happen to a family that is such a close knit in your face everybody knows everybody’s business – ever see the movie Big Fat Greek Wedding – well that’s us but only Italian.
How can this happen?
And if this can happen there is no room for judgment or ridicule or comparison –

• we all need God.
• I do and so do you.
• The playing field has been leveled.

You think Christmas will ever be the same? No.
Unless we embrace the true meaning of Christmas --- or rather - allow ourselves to be embraced by it ---

To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord –

to you who are grieving.
• Loss so powerful.
• He came for you. For you.
• As a baby. He came for you.

Don’t miss Christmas.

God sent the Son into the world not to condemn the world but, so the world might be saved through him.

Who is he – he is the One whom God sent to redeem and restore and renew all that is lost and broken in our lives and in our world.

The grave has been conquered by him.
• It has no power.
• He broke the curse.

And a great banquet reunion awaits us because
God sent the Son into the world not to condemn the world but so that the world might be saved through him.

All the pain. All the loss.
Christmas can be so brutal.

I mean look at the commercials of Christmas.
They say if you don’t have a significant other you can’t experience the miracle of Christmas.
Really??? The Bible says that’s poppycock. Rubbish.
If the lowest members on the totem pole – the shepherds had a ringside seat to the holy manger so do you.

I remember I couldn’t even go into a McDonalds and sit and eat by myself, so insecure about being alone.
And Christmas – forget about it. As much as I love Christmas there was a part of me that dreaded it.
Know what – this morning I needed some me time and all by myself I went to McDonalds and read over my notes and just ate the most lovely egg and cheese biscuit.
Had the time of my life.
And guess what it was there – alone – I felt the Holy Spirit give me a new message for tonight.
I had written tonight’s sermon two weeks ago and by 10:35 this morning I had a new message, and this is it.

Once afraid to be alone now in my aloneness there is God.

Yes Christmas can be so brutal.
To show you I went to the source. Hallmark Channel.

Listen to the titles of these movies and ask yourself what is the message they give.
• A Midnight Kiss
• Christmas Made To Order
• A December Bride
• A Cookie Cutter Christmas
• Once Upon A Holiday With Love, Christmas
• Mingle All The Way
• Christmas In Love
• It’s Christmas, Eve
• And My Favorite: A Shoe Addicts Christmas

Last year Hallmark Channel made 21 Christmas movies. This year 38.
And every one of them is about an attractive, young heterosexual couple whose life is meaningless until they get together at the end of the movies. And what is this message?

Your life is lacking
• Unless you meet the perfect one.
• Unless your heterosexual
• And unless you are beautiful.

Bahhhhh humbug!
Your life is lacking until you meet the perfect one. And for once I think Hallmark got it right.

To you is born this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord. To you.

The Greek is so wonderful here – the word to you – because the word umin is the
word in the original Greek which the New Testament is written in.
The word umin is in the dative form which can be translated. To you, for, with and in…

Listen – the message cannot be clearer.

To you is born this day a Savior who is Christ the Lord
For you is born this day a Savior
With you is born this day a Savior
In you is born this day a Savior who is
Christ the Lord

To you is born this day a Savior who is Christ the Lord
For you is born this day a Savior
With you is born this day a Savior
In you is born this day a Savior who is
Christ the Lord

Let’s talk about the longings of your heart.
What are you longing for?
• Healing
• Love
• Financial stability
• Inner peace
• World peace
• Wisdom for our leaders
• An end to refugees displaced who rather be home.
• No more hunger
• No more drugs
• No more sex trafficking
• No more death

You and I are wired to have longings… and all these things are great.

• And all these things are God’s will.
• God has done something about it.
• He sent us a Savior.

We are created with a spark of Eden still in us… it’s there.
And don’t confuse some of your longings as what you may be really longing for.
Because once you get the guy or the girl or the job or the car or the house guess what – the longing’s still there.

To you is born this day a Savior who is Christ the Lord
For you is born this day a Savior
With you is born this day a Savior
In you is born this day a Savior who is Christ the Lord

Augustine said it best – our hearts are restless until they find their rest in God.

God says through the prophet Jeremiah, you will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

On Sunday Don did a little exercise with the kids – the Jesus in the manger scene was missing and the kids had to find him.

You know where they found Jesus – in the closet in the basket around the camel’s neck.
Not in the noble flower arch behind me… not on the podium. But in a storage closet in a crummy basket around a smelly animal’s neck.
See that is where the Christ is found.

• Christ is found in your confusion.
• Christ is found in your loneliness.
• Christ is found in your dilemmas.
• Christ is found in your troubles he is found in your sin.
• Christ is found in your brokenness.

Don’t miss the Christ in your life.
And he is found in the displaced refugee and we miss him.
He is found in the pregnant teen and we miss him.
He is found in the hospice patient and we miss him.
He is found in the heroine addict and we miss him.
He is found in the poor and we miss him.
He is found in the AIDs patient and we miss him.

He is found in the Hindu and we miss him.
He is found in the Muslim and we miss him.
And we miss him he is found in the Jew and we miss him.
He is found. He is.

To you is born this day a Savior who is Christ the Lord
For you is born this day a Savior
With you is born this day a Savior

In you is born this day a Savior who is Christ the Lord