Printable PDF: 12-24-2017 Candlelight Sermon 2017
December 24, 2017 ~ Christmas Eve ~ Luke 2:15-20 ~ Pastor Clark
PEACE FOR THE BROKEN
15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Dear brothers and sisters of the newborn King!
You all got here. You look nice. The church looks nice. Your home has been decorated the way you could and want to. You’ve been playing the music for a while. Christmas gifts have been bought and wrapped. People are even a little nicer on the road. It’s just a matter of time when the great American unwrap will begin. How great are our lives! It’s one of the reasons people love this time of year so much.
It couldn’t have come at a better time! Have you paid attention to what’s been happening? Polarization, recrimination, obfuscation, obstruction – and that’s just our leaders in Washington. Murders, bombings, random acts of violence – and that’s in the name of religion. Boy do we need Christmas!
The newspaper had an article yesterday about this time of year being really stressful for people especially as people become more “spiritual” and less “religious.” ‘More spiritual and less religious’ basically means people don’t want to have spiritual commitments. The article noted that the stress seems to increase. Is that true for you? No matter what the Andy Williams song says, this isn’t the “happiest time of the year” for some people. In fact for some people this whole season is represented less by that perfect Christmas tree and more by the broken bulb you see in the picture above me.
I understand why Christmas can feel that way for many people. At your Christmas dinner there may be one less place setting this year. Some of those marriages on life support last Christmas didn’t make it. “I’ll be home for Christmas,” is something that won’t happen for others. Those can be hard.
On a personal level, decisions we’ve made or what we’ve done and can’t undo fill us with regret and guilt. In the end, we find ourselves bruised, battered, and broken in our own unique way. We really do need something, but it’s going to take more than a new bulb or an apology or a few “likes” on a Facebook post to do it. We need strong medicine. We need something better.
If you don’t feel very peaceful, if you do feel broken, there is an answer. You need Christmas. Not the secular Christmas, the spiritual Christmas. I don’t mean who you are eating with or whether you receive the present for which you were hoping. I’m talking about the present you need.
Jesus Christ came into the world to bring peace to people, broken people, like us. He did that by taking on our humanity with all its temptations and frailties. He did that in the most humble of manners because he knew that is what it would take for you and me. He knew that was the way to atone for our failures, personal and spiritual, and the guilt that comes from all those failures. He wanted you to know that as alone as you might feel and as broken as you might feel, he is there for you, to lift you up, to give you peace, to assure you that you are loved. If you are broken, Jesus came for you. The Savior of the world came for you for every rotten, selfish, nasty thing you have ever done or said. Jesus came for you.
That’s what Christmas is all about, peace for the broken. Brothers and sisters, can we learn from what the Bible says? Let’s go to Bethlehem and see Jesus. We do that here tonight, tomorrow morning, and every Sunday. Let’s go to Bethlehem and be filled with the peace that only comes through hearing about Jesus.
Let’s spread the word like the Shepherds that in a world of broken people, there is peace to be found for free in Jesus. He is the Savior of the world.
Let’s treasure this peace that we find in Jesus just like Mary did. Let’s ponder it, think about it deeply, and treasure it in our hearts so that we show in our lives what it means to have peace through Jesus.
Then let us also glorify and praise God for his gift of a Son, the one that was promised, the one sent for you and me. Let our praise be equal to the gift God gave to each of us broken people. We are whole through Jesus.
Boy, does the world ever need Christmas…and the peace it brings. You have it through Jesus. Merry Christmas! Amen.