Merry Christmas! We are so glad you are here on this Christmas Eve to celebrate the birth of Jesus. We’ve almost made it to Christmas Day. If you have not felt the sense of anticipation for weeks if not months, then you certainly do now.
As a church we’ve spent the last four weeks journeying together through the season of Advent. The word Advent means “coming” or “arrival,” and the season is marked by expectation, waiting, anticipation, and longing. Advent is not just an extension of Christmas, it is a season that links the past, present, and future. Advent offers us the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, to celebrate His birth, and to be alert for His second coming.
The Gift of Jesus
As we have arrived at Christmas Eve, we celebrate the little baby wrapped in cloth and lying in a manger, and we know that He is the true gift of Christmas. All the other gifts of hope, love, joy, and peace come from Him. He is . . .
The HOPE bringer
LOVE come down
The JOY giver
The PEACE maker
As we have noted throughout the night, Jesus is the bringer of eternal life and relationship with God.
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
John 10:10 ESV
He is the giver of life to the full.
Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
John 14:1, 6 ESV
He is the way, the truth, and the life. He is everything. He is the miracle that came so humbly to a stable that many miss it. He is the gift who entered that dark and normal night millennia ago as a fragile infant, one of us. But He is the God so loving and powerful that He willingly stretched out His arms on a cross later in life to carry our sin and shame and burden and death in order to give us a way to Himself. Jesus is the greatest gift of Christmas and of all eternity.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.
John 1: 1-4, 9-14 ESV
Jesus said, I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
As we celebrate the gift of Jesus this Christmas, may we be filled with hope, love, joy, and peace so we can live life to the fullest. Here, where our Advent journey ends, a new journey begins—a journey of worship. It is our act of worship to receive the gifts of Jesus this Christmas, and we can respond by bringing our own worship to Him. Like Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, the angels, and the wise men, we rejoice at His coming and we worship Immanuel, God with us.
Together we have watched and waited. We have stepped into the darkness and followed the light. We have received the gifts of Christmas. Tonight the Szocki family lit the final candle in our Advent wreath, let us continue to worship Jesus, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
This Christmas Eve as we see the glow of the final candle in the Advent wreath, Jesus, reaches out for you across time and space. The light of the world has come to earth and deeply wants to reach you, extending hope, love, joy, and peace. Will you experience this miracle? Will you receive God’s gift, His one and only Son, born to set you free? Will you give your heart to Him this Christmas in worship and in wonder?