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Telling the Christmas Story
by DP in DL
based on John1:1-14 and Psalm 23
Following is a sermon I plan to use.....personal stories abound.....you'll need to fill in your own. Blessings!!
Grace to you and peace from God our Father, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who comes through the Holy Spirit, Amen.
In a few days, I'll be taking down our Christmas Tree, packing up the ornaments, removing the Creche and figures of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus from the bookcase and bid them farewell for another year. For me, it's a sad time when Christmas comes to a close. Perhaps, this is why the Christmas lights on the outside of the house remain up for a few more weeks.......I leave them up to hold onto a bit of the Christmas experience for just a little longer!
How was your Christmas this year? Or, more direct, how and what will you tell of the Christmas story, once all the symbols have been packed away? In todays Gospel, John is telling us the Christmas story, now that the symbols have been packed away. He tells the story without the angels and the shepherds, without the wise men and the manger. He tells it in language that we can all understand, images that speak to all of us today in our world. He tells it in terms of darkness and light.
He tells it like this: Read John 1:1-9, 14a Darkness.....John tells us of darkness in the world, a darkness that exists...
Let's talk about this darkness a little bit this morning. Have others tell about this darkness and make it a little more real!!! Start with a story by Douglas Davis... read story The Darkness of Lonliness...... The Darkness of alcoholism is said to be the elephant that is sitting in the pews of our churches today. Gary D. writes of the darkness of alcoholism...in these words.. read story . . . And then, the darkness of the final reality...the reality of death.
Read Psalm 23
John acknowledges the darkness that is in our world. In his telling of the Christmas story and throughout His Gospel, he recognizes that the darkness remains in the world. Yet One does not need to walk in the darkness because Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has come to illuminate and Light up the world for us.
Jesus said in John chapter 8 "I am the light of the World; anyone who follows me will not be walking in the dark but will have the light of life." Yes, the darkness exists around us....but as Christians, we do not need to live in the darkness, because Christ has come to shine in the darkness and to overcome it.
Several years ago a parishioner and friend named Con was in a horrible traffic accident. He was thrown from his car, landed on the pavement, was airlifted to and spend weeks in intensive care at Abbot Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. In all my years of ministry in the hospital I have never seen more tubes and wires and hookups in a person...... After he recovered......his daughter Kay spoke at one of our Sunday Worship Services. As Kay reflected upon the events of the Christmas Season with her father's automobile accident and all the recovery he's had so far...... she talked about the presense of God..... or shall I say her perception of the absense of God within her life. And then she said, "I discovered that God wasn't absent at all. It's just that I was wearing blinders that kept me from seeing Him."
One of my favorite authors, C.S.Lewis has a series of books out called the Chronicles of Narnia. I want to share an image with you from Book 7, The Last Battle that tells of how some are so blinded from seeing the light. Allow me to set the stage. Ann Weems writes this: Toward the Light..... When are we going to learn? Advent and Christmas have come and gone for another year. Soon, the decorations we see this morning will be packed up/thrown away.... What have we learned? What have we experienced? How will we tell the Christ story and share it with others?
One day, in Intensive Care, I visited with Con and we talked about darkness and light. And he talked candidly about both. He talked about how fearfull it was to face the literal darkness of the night when your fate and destiny are being controlled by machines and others.... And talked about how faith and trust in Jesus Christ, the light of the world, is the only thing that can calm those fears. We sang an Advent Hymn back in December.... "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" Emmanuel.....The Light that Shines and the Darkness cannot overcome it.
Today, receive the Light of Christ in your hearts and lives. Receive it through His Word that comes to you today. And upon receiving, Go and tell, with John, the Christmas Story. Tell it to a World that needs to hear of the Light that shine in the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it." In the Name of Christ, Amen.
Frank Schaefer, for JavaCasa Resources and the Desperate Preacher's Site, 1999