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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

12242013 Early Christmas Eve Service

Sermon Audio

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of our hearts be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, our Rock and our Redeemer.  AMEN.

When the beloved song, “Chestnuts roasting over an open fire” comes on the radio there is a palpable change in my personal mood.  Not only does this song denote the comfort of a nice warm fire crackling as logs are ablaze, but the lyrics and intent give everyone the warm sense of being home and together with family for the holidays, gathered to share not only good food and drink, but clearly the love that all of us have with our family.  The mood at times can be sad especially at Christmas, as we remember those loved ones that no longer are with us, whether they are parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters or good friends. 

In the “Little Drummer Boy”, a Christmas children’s classic, coping with loss is a fact that is clear for the little drummer boy who believes his little lamb is near death after being run over by a Roman soldier.  And he goes to the kings whom he had followed to Bethlehem, who he believes will save his lamb because they are rich, all knowing and all powerful.  But reality sets in that none of the three kings can do anything to save his lamb, they confess they are mortal just as he and his lamb are and they cannot work a miracle to save the lamb.  Not until the little drummer boy goes to the manger does he not only meet the King Who can save his lamb, but also the King Who comes and is wrapped in swaddling cloths.

The image we have tonight of a manger, similar to the one we have in the center aisle tonight is meant to remind us of the reason for the season.  We come here tonight because we like the drummer boy have been introduced to and believe in a God Who came down from heaven and entered our reality in a lowly manger.  Though He was King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ entered in a manger and tonight we are here at the manger because we, all of us gathered here believe in Jesus Christ.

Tonight we gather with our families, hear the Christmas Story read, sing the carols that remind us of Jesus Christ coming and His offer of salvation for all of mankind, but more importantly we are here at Emmanuel because we believe His message of salvation is for each and every one of us.  The presents we find under the tree pale in comparison to the present of the Son of God we find in the manger.  The feelings we have with a warm crackling fire and the warm embrace of our loved ones mean more than the food we eat, the meals we share, the time of joy and remind us of the warm embrace that we wait for with Jesus Christ as we enter into His Kingdom.  But tonight is not about sorrow and loss or who is not here with us this year, tonight is about hope, fulfillment and our belief that Jesus Christ came to die for you and for me.

May all of us gathered here tonight firmly believe that Jesus Christ coming in the manger was for each of us and may we always remember His gift offered for us begins with His entrance in the manger.  And we believe this because we are here to receive Him as the gift for all of mankind, but especially for and including all of us saints gathered around the manger here at Emmanuel this Christmas Eve.  AMEN.
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