24 Dec Christmas Eve is Here!
Friends, it is Christmas Eve. Tonight in churches, on military bases, in houses and huts and tents, on hospital wards, in airports and bus terminals, in homeless shelters and on street corners, people all around the world will, in various and unique ways, celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. This is what it’s all about—all the shopping and wrapping and cooking and caroling and parties of the last month. It’s all because nearly 2000 years ago a baby was born in Bethlehem, and his birth changed the course of human history.
But, on this night, this night that is the climax of all our preparations and anticipation, the question that really matters is: has this birth, this person, Jesus Christ, changed your life?
One Advent tradition that I didn’t experience growing up but that I’ve come to greatly appreciate is the lighting of special candles each week during our Advent worship, culminating with lighting the Christ candle on Christmas Eve. The four Advent candles represent hope, peace, love and joy, for these are the gifts we receive in the person and work of Jesus Christ. It’s easy to miss, amid all the tinsel and frenzy of December, that we give gifts to one another in response to the treasure-trove of gifts we receive from God in Jesus. Nothing we can find at the mall, fit into a box, or place under the tree will ever compare to having our hearts filled with hope, peace, love and joy. These are the gifts that matter, and not coincidentally, they are the gifts that last.
As is our tradition, at Calvary we will close our service tonight by having communion, then singing “Silent Night” in a sanctuary that will be dark, save for the glow of candles that each person will be holding. I know from experience that it will be a beautiful and moving sight. As I hold my candle and sing, I will be praying for you this prayer:
May you know this child who brings hope—not just a wish, but the confidence that God will defeat evil and God’s good purposes will triumph.
May you know this child who brings peace—even in the midst of great suffering and trials, his peace assures us that he is in control even when it feels like nobody is.
May you know this child who brings love—a love that will never be taken away, a love that is beyond our understanding.
May you know this child who brings joy—for he will deliver us all.
Don’t forget to follow our Advent Calendar!
We are also posting our sermons in PDF format, so if you want to read last week’s sermon, CLICK HERE!