Christmas Day 2022
Grace and peace be with you this Christmas day from God our father and from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Do you have a favorite Christmas memory?
There are several that come to my mind.
It was 1987 and I was seven years old.
There was a knock at the door.
It was Eldon Nessen a dear friend of the family.
He was holding a large wrapped box.
“Merry Christmas, “he said.
He stepped into our house.
“This is for all of you,” he said.
He then carefully handed over the large box to my dad.
It was very heavy and wrapped in beautiful Christmas paper.
My parents and Eldon exchanged a few more words and then he was gone – maybe to deliver another Christmas gift.
My brothers and I were only too eager to open the large box.
“Go ahead,” my parents said with smile.
“Let’s see what’s inside.”
Jim and I tore into the wrapping paper.
When our job of unwrapping, the box was finished – sitting there on the kitchen table was a color television set.
We had a tv but it was a tiny black and white television set.
I knew in that moment a whole new world was about to appear.
No longer would I watch Sesame Streat and Mr. Rodgers in black and white.
Now color would fill the picture screen.
A whole new world was coming my way, at least that is what I thought as a seven-year-old.
It was certainly a Christmas to remember from my childhood.
Another special Christmas was the memory that I shared last week in my sermon.
It was Kalen and my first Christmas together as a married couple and the Christmas where I would tell the good news of Jesus’ birth to all the people at my internship church.
It was a sermon, as I shared last week, that I almost did not give if it were not for the strong intervention of the Holy Spirit.
To this day I believe it was the Spirit of God who gave me grace to continue my training that year and to stay at that internship church.
I remember giving that sermon on Christmas Eve to a packed church and thinking afterwards how good it felt to share the Gospel at Christmas – the good news of Jesus Christ coming to dwell among us.
And lastly, the Christmas of the first year of COVID comes to my mind.
Everything seemed so difficult and unpredictable that year except Christmas.
That Christmas of 2020 we still gathered together on Christmas Eve either on Zoom or in-person with our masks and social distancing to celebrate the birth of our Lord.
And to remember that God was still with us even at a time like that.
When we lit the candles that evening and sang “Silent Night” it was a powerful witness to all of us of the light of Christ shining brightly among us.
As dark as that year seemed the light of Christ shinned brighter.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
In the beginning of the Gospel of John, we hear of the light of God coming to us in a person who is Jesus the Christ.
Later in the Gospel of John Jesus proclaims that he is the light of the world and that whoever follows him will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.
It is this light that we celebrate every Christmas.
It is a light that turns the world from black and white to color.
Jesus illuminates the world with his love, his grace, and his glory.
He is the reason we have left the comfort of our homes this morning to gather together once more to celebrate his birth and to sing his praises in these beautiful Christmas songs.
I don’t know if this Christmas will be a Christmas you will remember in the years to come – maybe it will – maybe it will not be a very memorable Christmas.
Nevertheless, this day reminds us to also keep our hope in the future.
On Christmas day we remember that the Savior has already been born to us and his future kingdom that will come someday.
Today we put our hope in God’s future as we remember the past.
Christ has come to dwell with us and Christ will come again.
He comes to us.
He will heal us, bless us, and will have communion with us and one day he will invite us to join him in the kingdom of heaven.
There are many who have gone ahead of us, there are many who will follow us, Christ leads all of us to his everlasting kingdom.
Truly this is grace and this is truth to us this day.
Jesus the Christ full of grace and truth coming to us as the Word made flesh.