Christmas Eve: “For You!”
December 24th, 2019
Grace, mercy, and peace be to you from God our Father and our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
Here we are again.
… to hear this familiar, old, story.
…It’s the same story that’s been told for thousands of years over many generations. It has been passed down from parent to child over and over again.
…tonight, we participate with Christians of the past who have celebrated this night year after year.
…We join Christians across the world tonight who tell this same story in all their different languages.
… We’re not just hearing a story over and over again. We’re participating in remembering a special, specific, event which occurred in our history.
But why do we remember this story and this event?
Do we remember it because it makes a nice story about angels, and a cute newborn baby, and a nice family who made it to the end of a long journey?
Do we remember it because it’s cold and dark and we need a good excuse to feel happy?
Do we remember each year simply because “it’s just what we do?”
Or maybe because it’s a good reminder about the importance of peace on earth?
Why do we remember this event year after year?
Let me offer an answer to this question.
WE remember this event in history, we tell it over and over again, because this story is your story.
This story is for you!
It is not a fairy tale that has no grounding in reality. It is real.
It is not a nice story to hear but has nothing to do with us. It has everything to do with us.
It is not a story, an event, that happened for somebody else. It happened for you.
It all starts with Adam and Eve in the garden falling short of being perfect. Adam and Eve are your ancestors. Each one of you is a part of their family. You are one of their descendants. God promised to them someone who will come and save them from temptation – someone who would crush the head of the serpent and save them from death itself.
God promised to your family, through the prophets of old, that this one who will come and save us will be the prince of peace whose kingdom will be good and just and he will rule and reign forever. This one who will come, will bring peace to the chaos of our world. He will bring light to the darkness of our hearts. This child will be born to US.
This one who will come – has come. He has come to us in the little baby laid in a manger. Your promised saviour from death has come to you in the baby Jesus. Your promised king has come to you in Jesus.
Jesus was born into his world to be with us. Jesus was born to die for you! Jesus came back from among the dead for you. Jesus came back from the dead to reign in heaven as the king above all kings over our earth. Jesus came back from the dead to show us in His resurrected body what we one day will be.
This story is our story which is just the start of what Jesus has come to do for you.
One day, this story will have an ending. That ending will come just as God has promised. Jesus will come back from His throne in heaven on the last day and He will come and save you and I from the punishment we deserve for not being perfect.
Your not being perfect is punishable by death. Your not being perfect kept you apart from God.
God, in Jesus, has come to take our death sentence. God has come in Jesus the Immanuel, (God with us) to reunite us. God has come to forgive our falling short and save us from Hell.
It is this love God has shown to us in this story, this event, and it gives you hope.
It is this story for us that we remember, and it gives us a future.
This story is for you. Christmas is for you.
For now, as we wait for the end, we remember our story. (That’s why we’re here tonight)
We hear this story as God speaks it to us the Holy Bible.
We sing and we celebrate the hope we now have.
We praise God because He has made this story our story.
The term “mass” in Christ-mass comes from the Latin words which ended the Christian mass service. These words which were spoken were the dismissal “Ite, missa est”. These were words spoken by the clergy sending God’s people back out into the world to share the good news and forgiveness they had just received.
We are sent back into the world this Christ-Mass with this story of God’s love for us sinners. It is now in our hearts and on our lips so we can share that love from God with everyone.
This story of Christmas is Your story and it is for you. But it is also for every person you see.
This story is for the whole world that everyone may know of the peace God brings to us through the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, our Lord.