By Verse : Phil 2:6-11, Jn. 1:14 Topic :


The other night Carole and I decided to watch a Christmas movie. The one I choose was “Miracle on Thirty-fourth Street” with John Payne, Maureen O’Hara, Natalie Wood, and playing Kris Kringle was Edmund Gwenn. Seen it many times, and still enjoy the movie and I think I finally figured out why. It’s about believing, isn’t it. Yes, they use Santa, yet, can we not say Hollywood borrowed on the Christmas theme of Christ’s birth and believing? The little girl believed in nothing, as well as her mother. For them all those kid’s things, and much more, were myths. Yet this little man with a round belly, and a ho-ho-ho laugh brought them to believe, not just in him, but to have a belief that things can change, and that you can have answers to prayers, your hopes can be realized. So, if you look at this from the Christian perspective, well, you can be touched by the story of old. Oh, not just the movie, but the story of Christ’s birth for through both, we are called to believe, to have hope, to lift our hearts knowing someone cares for us.
It’s a crazy, yet exciting time of the year, isn’t it? It’s Christmas Eve, yet it’s the last Sunday in Advent. Many people will be worshipping today during this morning and I hope, and again this evening. Stores will be open today until later waiting for those last minute procrastinators to take care of their Christmas list. And it bogles the mind that if you order even late Christmas Eve, that gift is supposed to arrive some time on Christmas day. WOW!
Later today, when all is done, families will gather to celebrate their Christmas Eve traditions like they do year after year. It will be a time to stop and be refreshed, hoping that no one was forgotten and the clothing that has been bought is the right sizes, the right color, the right design. The preparing of homes and gifts finished, it’s time to prepare one’s heart for the coming of the true meaning of Christmas, God’s only begotten Son who we worship and adore as the angels have invited us to do so many times. Like the message to the shepherds we are invited to come and see for ourselves the good news that Christ is born.
This morning we gather to bring to a close the season of Advent and with the help of our wonderful choir we have understood at just the right moment in time, at a time so long ago, when the time was right in God’s eyes, God sent his son. We know the story well. Mary and Joseph traveling to Bethlehem because of the census. When they get almost there, they try to find a place to stay for two reasons. One, it was night, cold, and Mary was tired and worn out from the journey thus far. The other reason was Mary was very close to having her baby. But as we know, there were no rooms to be had. Too many folks had traveled along this route as well because of that census, so it was first come, first served, and when Mary and Joseph tried, they heard the same answer, “Sorry, there is no room here. Good luck trying to find one.” But when they got to the very last one on the outskirts of town, the answer was the same, there was no room and no more inns in sight. When Joseph headed to tell Mary, who was having some contractions, there was a disappointment in her heart. But the inn keeper, out of the kindness of his heart, or maybe it was what God prompted him to do, yelled to them, “If you want, you can bed down in the stable outback. It’s not much, but it will get you out of the cold, and you can find comfort with the straw and you will be safe.” And we know the rest of the story, for it came to pass, sometime during the night, who knows when, Mary nudged a sleeping Joseph and said, “It’s time Joseph. It’s time.” And they began the preparation that brought that baby into the world, crying just like any other baby.
For nine months Mary and Joseph prepared for this moment. Were they ready? Did they have everything they needed? Oh, how they wished this child could have been born at home, in a warm bed, with family around. But it was not to be. Instead, here they are in a manger, of all places, with the smell of animals all around them. You talk about a humble beginning, God’s son who humbled himself, was born in a place where peasants might try and find rest. For, ready or not, the time was right, and as it had been foretold, it all came to pass as Joseph delivered baby Jesus and handed him to Mary to hold and cuddle. Can I have a few ‘aws?’
A few miles away something else was happening too. Shepherds were resting after a day’s work with the sheep. The sheep counted, their wounds taken care of, their bellies are full, and they lay down to rest, as do the shepherds. When it seemed all was quiet, the shepherds pull their bedding over themselves to catch a few hours of sleep. Then it happened. At just the right time a bright light in the sky shined so brightly it was almost as if it was daylight and the shepherds awoke with fear in their hearts. Were they under attack? Did a fire break out? Was the world coming to an end? They jumped to their feet with their shepherd’s staff at the ready, but the sheep were still asleep. Then a voice, “Fellows, fear not. For tonight in the town of Bethlehem just a few miles from where you are, a baby has been born. It is Christ the King. Born today in a humble stable is God’s Son, the Savior of your people and the Savior of the whole world.” Then singing was heard, and praises rang out, and the shepherds didn’t know what to do. They looked all around and saw these images of angels singing, and the one who continued to speak, spoke again as he said, “Go, see for yourself this Child that has been born. Follow that bright star in the sky and it will lead you right to the place where God’s Son has been born.” And so, they went to see for themselves, and as we know, they worshipped him, and returned to the fields with joy and peace in their hearts for they had beheld the Son of God, Savior of the world.
That’s what Christmas is all about. It all came to pass one wonderful night. Years later, after Jesus had died the Apostle John writing his Good News Gospel begins with these words, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning.” Then we read in John 1:14 one of our Scriptures for this morning. “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” And John continued with the great news of God’s divine grace, “We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
If we had an orchestra they could break out in the Hallelujah chorus, and all the world could stand at that moment when “King of Kings, Lord of Lords. And he shall reign forever and ever” is sung. But no! in the quiet of the night, beneath the sky of millions of stars, Christ was born of Mary. And the world relives that story year after year, because it is filled with hope. In a world filled with darkness, as John has said, God sent the Light into the world that would lead the lost to him. Hope was born that night. Peace was born as well, and so was joy. “For unto us a child is born, who is Christ the Lord.”
And for many years following his birth, not many thought about it much. But then I guess the church began to understand the importance of that birth and began celebrating it around 336 A.D. and it continues year after year. And year after year more lives get touched as Holy hymns are sung and the Christmas story is read and many in the world pause to reflect on Christ’s birth, because when we look at our world we still see the darkness, we still see the chaos, we still see stuff that is not of God and we need to be reminded into such a time as this, Christ is alive and offers that same peace and hope he came to offer as a baby. The world still needs changing. We still need changing. And the miracle of miracles is that it can happen one believer at a time.
So, don’t get bored by the Christmas story because it still is filled with wonder, magic, miracles, joy, and peace. Today, like every year, gifts will end up under a tree, people will gather with families and friends to celebrate the moment. Kids will have a tough time getting to sleep waiting for the morning to come to see what’s in their stockings and under the tree for them. Many will find nothing there at night as they head to bed, but in the morning, the search will begin for names on a tag that says this is Suzie’s, this is David’s, this is so and so’s. And the unwrapping will begin, and the joy of Christmas will be shared, as tired parents, and grandparents, and great-grandparents, will sit back and watch the excitement that each gift brings for another year.
I wonder if every Christmas the Trinity, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit, look down in every home, in every part of the world and often smile as the story of Jesus being born is read, and gifts are opened. Year after year it happens again as more people are touched by the story. More lives receive hope and peace through the generosity of someone, or some group being Jesus to someone spreading Christmas joy to a lost one.
Just at the right time, God sent his son. And Each Christmas we are reminded of that time for often we have the same situation they had when Jesus was born on earth.
Turning to our other Scripture this morning we find what Paul came to know as he wrote the Philippian church about the coming of God’s Son into the world. In all his struggles, in all his journeys, he came to realize a whole lot about this man that he once betrayed, and whose people he often would beat, or have imprisoned. In Philippians 2:6-11Paul says about Jesus this, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as man, he humbled himself and became obedient- even to death on a cross! Therefore, God exalted him in the highest place and gave him the name that is above every other name, that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
And God watched every step of his son’s journey from his birth, to the cross, to the grave, to his return to heaven. He watched, he guided, he touched, he answered prayers for those 33 years as Jesus journeyed not many miles from home, but with each step, with each sermon, with each teaching, with each healing, with each comfort, God was there to provide that which his son needed in order that his people on earth, people like you and me, could know the love of his Father, therefore we could believe in his son and follow him on this journey of faith believing, having faith in what is to be.
And it all came to pass just as God had planned. The choir sang, “A child has been born in our darkest night, the Word of God, Incarnate One, Redeemer, Holy Light. God’s own Son in a humble birth leaves His throne in Heaven to dwell with men on Earth, and it came to pass.”
The heart of God came down at Christmas. The heart of God, in the very presence of His son, humbled himself for the world.
And it came to pass. What great words of hope they are. Words that are live changing. When we lose hope, when all things seem so garbled, at the right moment, when we believe again or even for the first time, when our hearts are strangely warmed, things will come to pass, and we will sense, we will feel, we will experience the presence of God, for when he came that night, he came to live among us forever and ever.
The Word who was with God and was God, became flesh and came to this world of darkness to live among us…. the One and Only who came from the Father full of grace and truth.
That’s the Christmas story for us today. So, remember when you think all the gifts have been opened, there is always one more under the tree year after year that is only for you. It is the gift that God has given you. Receive his Son as your own Savior and Lord and know that he wants to dwell in your heart today, tomorrow and forever. For the miracle of the Christmas story lives every day of every year. For unto us a child is given….he is Christ the Lord.

Bob & Jo Tibbs celebrating 64 years of marriage!

Bob & Jo Tibbs celebrating 64 years of marriage!



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