Christmas is a love story.
Christmas tells us of the love of God lavished on us…
The Love of God, the story of the unfolding of Christmas really begins on the first page of the Old Testament. In Genesis one after creating light and the world the Creator creates us. We are God’s prize and treasure… Jesus told us to say our father and Paul said oh tender daddy
Some skip the first telling of Creation or blend it with Adam, Eve and the fall…. But God first says “these people I made are very good!”
The Love poured out at Christmas is there on the first page of the Bible really. Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us… So God created human beings in God’s very own image. In the image of God, God created them; male and female God created them…. and it was very good! (Genesis 1:26-27, 31 NLT)
Do you wonder if God loves us? Look at a child or a set of Christmas trees- is not sight a miracle?
Listen to the miracle of sound and music.
Think- praise God that you can call up a good memory. We are fearfully made-amazing!
Imagine- the possibility of dreams is powered by God, given by a loving Creator.
Love: this is the work of God.
Inside of each of us, is something holy and good. We are created in the image of God.
In the image of God, ponder that idea. We are spiritual beings. We can be more than sinners.
But what of that second page of the Bible, where sin enters the garden scene? We could talk about God who is so very close as to walk in the garden, but maybe we should ask: what is the nature of sin? Sin by definition is disobedience to God. But is sin some arbitrary rule of God?
The NT at times shares a list of sins. It reads of: “causal sexuality, impure thinking, idols, witchcraft, greed, callousness to the poor, bitterness, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions, envy, hard partying, carousing, and things like these.”
Consider that list… it is a list of sins against others, God and our best selves.
Sin is a separation, an alienation, and a clouding of the true picture of humanity.
- Sin separates us from holy God!
- Sin separates us from other people: alienating us from community and Love. Sin breaks
Jesus’ second great command to “love others as ourselves”
- Sin separates us from that image of God inside us- that best and beautiful image of God.
Paul after speaking of sin, speaks of what God’s spirit yields. Paul speaks of spiritual fruit that contradicts and conquers our sinful nature: “By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Sin does not end the light of God: the inner witness of God’s Spirit, our conscious, and our moral reason survive it’s onslaught! The Light shines in the darkness and the darkness can never overcome it!
- The Child who comes tonight comes to save us from real sin. Christ does not come just to give us a ticket to heaven like some celestial station master. but to save us from real world alienation, injustice, cowardice, and pain!
- Christ comes to save us from sin… in this life and the next!
This Bible is a love story. Like many Love stories, like many romantic comedies the love recorded in the Bible is full of twists and turns; misunderstanding and mistakes. However, the Bible is a one sided love story, where God loves and we do not always understand. We ,created in the image of God: we fall, fail and misunderstand. God pursues us through the pages of the Bible. At times we get it wrong, at times we may even hear God wrong, but God reach down to us. God works with us- an imperfect cast. God calls broken people like me and you or Abraham and Sarah. God says to Abram “go to a land I will show you… and I will make you into… and I will bless you… and I will establish my covenant with you …and I will be your God.” Despite all of our missteps and sins, God is at work beckoning, reshaping and guiding. …
The very name Israel means ”struggled with God and with humans” (Genesis 32:26, 28). The Bible is an imperfect story of God’s love for wayward humanity.
The psalmist tells us how we can feel God’s Love right in the middle of our souls if we will but slow down. Hear David speak of the closeness of God: Psalm 139 “O Lord, you have searched me and known me. … Even before a word is on my tongue, O Lord, you know it completely. You hem me in, behind and before, and lay your hand upon me. Where can I go from your spirit? If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in hell, you are there. For it was you who formed me; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” It is right there inside us… if we would just be people of prayer… of waiting, of watching, of tending our souls as much as we tend our business. If we sought deeper stuff, soul stuff… we would discover the love of God is right at hand!
After pursuing us, sending prophets, sending signs, sending the word- God decided to break right into human history. God became “Emmanuel: God with us” We Christians are people of a new covenant, for after God sought to reach people, to guide and to council people with inner light… finally God said “I will go”
God sent word to Mary by Gabriel: “Greetings, favored one! The Lord is with you.” Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. … The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God.
And the Word of God came to Joseph in dream… ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.
Tonight, as we gaze at the Christ child in the manger we celebrate the culmination of God seeking to reach out to us. Consider that God left the comfort of heaven, where there is nothing but love, joy, peace and glorious music for this world of strife, division, poison ivy and noise.
Tonight we hear the promise in John 3:16-17 For God so loves the world! That od sent his only child so that whoever might believe in Christ might never perish but enter into eternal life… for God did not send Jesus to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. This is love: God comes to us vulnerable- mildly laying the glory of heaven by, so that we might not die! Hail, the sun of righteousness!
Tonight we hear the angels singing to shepherds: Do not be afraid; for see—I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the people: to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.
This child wrapped in bands of cloth and lying in a manger is the end of sin and death.
This child is the perfect incarnation of God’s love.
This child is the fullness of God: God with us. God as one of us.
This child comes to show us how to live.
Tis child comes to save us from sin both now and forever.
But Friends it is not enough to know the story Of angels and shepherds, of Joseph and Mary. Christmas is to be experienced in us tonight. God’s love is at hand. Christ has come to restore to us that lost image of God. Christmas is just a fact of history, it is a living hope. Christ can be born in our souls tonight!
Tonight, The Apostle Paul writes to us of the love of God saying “Remember, our Message is Jesus Christ… For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ. If you only look at us, you might well miss the brightness. We carry this precious Treasure around in the unadorned clay pots of our ordinary lives. That’s to prevent anyone from confusing God’s incomparable power with us. ! (2 Corinthians 4:5-12) We Christians believe that God still shines into hearts, guides our lives and saves us from sin.
Christ has come in the Bethlehem.
Christ will come again in glory to set the world right, establish justice, and weigh our living.
Tonight, Christ longs to bring Christmas right into your living: to be born in us!
Christ comes to save us.
Christ comes to restore in us the lost image of God.
Christ comes to bring us, peace, love, moral courage, rightness, cleanness and joy
- Will we open our hearts, our souls and our lives to Christ?
- Will we allow the great king of love to be reborn in us tonight?
- Will we come and kneel around the manger in worship?
- Will Christmas be born anew in us?
Merry Christmas my friends.
Merry Christmas. Christ the Lord is born for us. May we know the love of God born for us and may the love of God be born anew in us tonight! Amen.