Happy Boxing Day. Yesterday was the day. Here’s the message of joy and hope I shared with my congregation yesterday morning. May you delight and rejoice in the truth of our Savior. P.S. This will be the only post this week. Enjoy your week, and we’ll be together again like this in the new year.
Christmas Morning Message 2022
Christmas is a good time for telling stories. I’d like to tell you one this morning.
There was once a child. This child was loved by his parents. As far as they were concerned, he was at the center of their world. And this child had potential. So. Much. Potential. But he couldn’t see it. He didn’t understand the incredible things that lay ahead of him if only he stayed on the right path. But his parents did. And they knew their love was the key to his getting there. So they pursued him with their love.
“But the angel said to them, ‘Don’t be afraid, for look, I proclaim to you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)
One last song of the season as we prepare for Christmas Eve’s arrival tomorrow. We’re not going with anything new or particularly different today. Instead, we’re going with something old. This is a classic Christmas carol that was first published in 1739. I heard a wonderful podcast the other day in which the interviewee described this as the greatest Christmas carol ever.
It was written at a time when religious revivals were sweeping across the United States and England. This was when the Methodist Church was forming, and protestant groups generally were gaining strength. Baptists were multiplying much to everyone’s chagrin, and evangelicals were first starting to become a meaningful Christian group. About this time, participants in these various revival movements started to increasingly write their own much rather than merely singing the psalter as believers had done for a very long time prior to this point. In a sense, these hymns were the contemporary music of their day.
This was one of the first Christmas hymns written in this significant period of history. Like so many of the hymns of the day, it is filled with rich theology that can be used to teach young believers some of the great and deep truths of the faith if they are exhorted to listen carefully to what they are singing.
The hymn speaks of angels heralding the birth of the newborn King. It calls for joyful nations to rise in praise of the God who would send His Son for us. It proclaims the fully divinity of Christ at every point in His human existence. It speaks of the healing He would bring the world, and of the second birth to eternal life God promised us through Him.
By now, I suspect you have successfully identified our final song of the season as Hark! the Herald Angels Sing. As you prepare on this second-to-last day of the Advent season, may you reflect joyfully on the third day from now with a wonderful rendition of this great carol by Phil Wickham. Blessings and Merry Christmas to you!
“Jesus said, ‘Everyone who drinks from this water will get thirsty again. But whoever drinks from the water that I will give him will never get thirsty again. In fact, the water I will give him will become a well of water springing up in him for eternal life.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)
In just three more days tens of millions of people across the nation and world will gather around Christmas trees and open presents. While there will perhaps be a few groans of disappointment when something that was really expected doesn’t show up, on the whole, there will be many more squeals of delight. And yet, a few days later, those same millions will be making goals of things they want to accomplish in the new year. That sense of desire will not be satisfied for long by the things under the tree. How can we find satisfaction that lasts longer than a few days? Jesus tells us here in a conversation with a woman who wanted to be satisfied. Let’s listen in together.
“Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. By his own choice, he gave us birth by the word of truth so that we would be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (CSB – Read the chapter)
One of the cliches people who have even the most rudimentary, generic faith like to throw around when something good has happened is that there is no such thing as a coincidence. It’s one of those phrases that is common enough that you could probably trick someone into thinking it’s from somewhere in the Scriptures if you put it before them in the right list. You might be surprised to learn that while that phrase never actually makes an appearance in the Scriptures, the idea isn’t so far off from something Jesus’ own brother, James, wrote. Let’s take a look at it this morning.
“Now this is what the Lord says – the one who created you, Jacob, and the one who formed you, Israel – ‘Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are mine.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)
My Sunday school group is currently going through a series about fear and the role it should play in our lives. The very first lesson was all about our fear of the Lord. We are told over and over in the Scriptures to fear the Lord. Yet in passages like this one, we also find Him over and over again telling us to nor fear. Which is it? And what does any of this have to do with Advent? Let’s explore that together this morning.