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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

12242014 Christmas Eve Early Service

Sermon Audio

December 24, 2014
Christ our Light and Life Preserver!
Gracious God, as we gather this Christmas Eve night may we not only come to celebrate Jesus birth, but worship our King of Kings and Lord of Lords that lies in the manger.  AMEN!

When Christmas Eve was celebrated by some families in cultures across the globe, the one thing that all could do was light candles.  Even here in Northwest Kansas, some members of Emmanuel recently shared their remembering actual candles being lit on the Christmas trees at church and having to have a bucket of water handy and a watchman just in case the candles tipped.  Candles when used on trees to celebrate Christmas or cakes to count years always had a purpose.  This Christmas Eve the candles we use here in the church have a purpose as well.

Tonight, we light not only the four candles that form the circle of the Advent Wreath, but we add an additional candle.  A white Candle symbolizing the birth of Jesus Christ.  This White Candle sits in the center of the circle of light, because Jesus Christ should be at the center of each of our lives.  Jesus Christ came into the world in a lowly manger in Bethlehem not only to fulfill the promises of the prophets of the Old Testament, but to be the all atoning sacrifice for all of mankind.  Jesus Christ remembered with this white candle is the spotless Lamb of God that came to take away the sin of the World.  The White Candle is a symbol of Jesus Christ purity from conception, to birth, in life and especially in His death on the Cross of Calvary for all of mankind.

Jesus Christ is represented by this white Candle, because Jesus Christ is the light of our world.  Jesus Christ is the light that brightens the darkness that surrounds us and is the beacon we need daily.  Just as ships need the light from a lighthouse to not only warn of the danger of reefs and shoals, Jesus Christ is the light shining into our darkness.  This is why lighthouse keepers jobs were extremely important, they insured the light given off by the lighthouse would not go out no matter the conditions.  This helped prevent ships from hitting anything that would sink them and cause the loss of revenue, but especially life.

The War story from the Battle of the Java Sea is told of how a ship of sailors on stormy seas was torpedoed by an enemy ship.  116 sailors jumped into the water in order to escape certain death and clung to rafts and floating debris in the oil filled water to stay afloat and alive.  Three rescue ships tried in desperation to help, but were helpless, until the actions of one man.  The man began to throw life preservers to the survivors who could be heard in the darkness.  Normally in daylight one could see the life preserver easily, but in the darkness, it seemed only like desperation.  But the life preservers used were special, they had a light attached.  The light attached guided not only the men to the life preserver, but also guided the three ships to the survivors from the torpedoed ship.  Those 116 lights were beacons in the darkness that surrounded those men and saved all of the survivors of the sunken ship.

Brother’s and Sisters in Christ, Jesus Christ is our life preserver, for us and all of mankind.  Jesus Christ is the light for each and every one of us in the darkness of our world.  Tonight we come to celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ.  In a few minutes we will light our individual candles.  Our candles are our individual and collective reminder for each of us of how Jesus Christ is our light for each of us in this world.  May we as we light our candles, do so to be the beacon for our world in order that others might be saved, just as Jesus Christ has saved each of us.  For Jesus Christ is our life preserver and came in a manger in order to save us and be the light for all of mankind, but especially each of us who light our candles this Christmas Eve night here at Emmanuel.  AMEN.

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