Christmas Eve Sermon

Here’s the full text of tonight’s message! Merry Christmas! If you’d like to hear it, you can find it here.

Tonight, I want to tell you the story of an empty stocking.
Once upon a midnight clear there was a child’s cry.
A blazing star hung over a stable and wise men came with birthday gifts.
We haven’t forgotten that night down the centuries.
We celebrate it with stars on Christmas trees, with the sound of bells and with gifts –
but especially with gifts.
You give me a book. I give you a tie.
Aunt Martha has always wanted an orange squeezer
and Uncle Henry could do with a new pipe.
Oh, we forget nobody – adult or child.
All the stockings are filled.
All, that is, except one.
And we have even forgotten to hang it up.
The stocking for the child born in the manger.
It’s his birthday we’re celebrating.
Don’t let us ever forget that.
Let us ask ourselves what he would wish for most
and then let each put in his share.
Loving kindness, warm hearts…
and a stretched-out hand of tolerance.
All the shining gifts that make peace on earth.
I would love to claim those words as my own, but that I cannot do. They were spoken in the classic Christmas movie “The Bishop’s Wife” but I wanted to share them tonight. We so often think about keeping Christ in Christmas, but we must always remember what that really means. Christmas is a celebration of love. We celebrate the love that we share with one another. We exchange cards and gifts as signs of that love. We share in meals, we sing songs, and we celebrate. We gather together and celebrate Christmas around a glowing tree. We also celebrate the love of God on Christmas. That God came to live as us, to breath as us, to eat as us, to walk with human feet and feel with human hands. To be our Emmanuel, God with us, in Christ Jesus. That the Son of God was born to humble beginnings, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. That the Good News was proclaimed to lowly shepherds in their fields. That Christ came to be a light in the darkness. A child of light was born in Bethlehem all those years ago, and we celebrate it tonight as children of light.
I reflected upon the words spoken to the shepherds. “Do not be afraid… I am brining you good news of great joy.” I admired the readiness of the shepherds to share this good news. They didn’t wait. They didn’t stop to form a committee to discuss what it meant. They didn’t stop to find the deep hidden theological implications of their words. There was no long study to understand and craft a carefully worded statement. They went to see for themselves and to share the good news. They were shown a great light, the Messiah, the Lord, the branch of Jesse’s tree, the Alpha and Omega, the Human One, the Almighty, our advocate, the cornerstone, the bread of life, the deliverer, the Lamb and the Good Shepherd, the rock, the resurrection and the life, the way, the wonderful counselor, the prince of peace, our Emmanuel, the beloved Son, the baby Jesus laid in a manger. The true light of true light, born to save us all. Christ came as all those things for us, in love. He is still all those things for us today. Let us remember Him when we give; In the gifts we give each other, in the acts of kindness we share with the world.
Let your light shine this Christmas. Let it burn bright for all to see. A light filled with love for the unloved. A light filled with hope for the hopeless. A light of kindness to the downtrodden. A light of justice for the oppressed. A light of companionship for the lonely. A light of comfort for the afflicted. A light of peace for the world. Let the light shine in all that you are and all that you do. Let it shine in us on this night and forevermore. For Christ was born on Christmas day as the light and the truth. Let that light and that truth guide us all the days of our lives. Let us share it with one another. Let us bring peace to a weary world in the name of the child born in a manger. Let us hang his stocking in our hearts and fill it by our words and our deeds. Let us each put in our part. We may not give Aunt Martha Frankincense this Christmas, but we can share with her a kind word. We might not get Uncle Henry Myrrh, but we can share with him hope. Little Timmy and Susie may not get gold this Christmas, but we can share with them love. Be the light Christ came to share with the world.
Let us too proclaim the Good News to all that we meet. That the Prince of Peace has come to us and that we are saved in His loving grace. Let us testify to the light, the true light, the light born into this world as Christ our Savior. Let us be blessed this Christmas in the name Heavenly Father, The Holy Spirit, and Son born to set us free. Merry Christmas to you all. Amen.

– Rev Cameron D. St.Michael

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