Saturday, 24 December 2011

What If God Loves You?: a Short Sermon for Christmas Eve - with Reference to Isa 9:2-7, Titus 2:11-14 and Luke 2:1-20


What if God loves you? 
What if Caesar Augustus issuing that census decree which sent Joseph and Mary off on the road to Bethlehem, expecting a child, and the baby being born and wrapped and placed in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn really is part of a divine plot to show you that the Father Himself loves you? Just that. What if that really set the angel and the glory of the LORD off and scared the shepherds out of their wits? What if there really was then, and is tonight, a great company of the heavenly host praising God and saying, Glory to God in the Highest and on earth peace to everyone on whom His favour rests?

What if God’s favour rests on you tonight.   
No, really; what if God loves you? 
What if when Isaiah wrote the words in our first reading 2,700 years ago, not only did God already have Jesus—the child born, the son given, the great light—in mind, but also you and me; to light up the dark places in our souls and lives tonight? 
What if God loves you? 
What if the grace of God that brings salvation has really appeared to all people? What if the salvation bringer really is Jesus? What if He really is a Saviour sent to save you and me? What if Jesus really is making a glorious appearance here in the Scriptures, the bread and the wine tonight, newborn baby no longer, but our Mighty God and Saviour, who gave himself for you and me to redeem us from all wickedness done by, or to, us and to purify us for himself and make us his own.

What if God loves you? 
What if he loves your kids? How can you make sure they get that? 
"Rejoice," wrote Isaiah. Celebrate. Have fun. Kids are attracted to genuine joy and fun. Set them a Christmas-spirited example by saying “No” to godless living and the sinful, indulgent pleasures Paul wrote about in our reading from Titus. Live self-controlled, upright and godly lives, eager to do what is good. Kids respond to goodness. They’ll see the God who loves them in it. Hurry, like the shepherds, to find where Jesus is and go there (you got it right tonight). Come often, and bring your kids with you, make sure they hear the story, over and over again (you know how they love to have stores repeated—try and skip a page), amaze them with the good news that God really does love them. Like Mary, treasure these events and what they mean and take them home and ponder them in your hearts with your kids. Like the shepherds, go home glorifying and praising God for all the things you are hearing and seeing this night and all that you will enjoy together over the next few days.
Because, if this is all true, it changes everything. It can no longer be just Christmas that’s magic. Life gets re-enchanted. Angels, glory and heavenly hosts, blessed hope, amazing grace, and Jesus himself—Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, the Christ—will light up your lives and the lives of your children like a Christmas tree. Batteries are included.  
What if God loves you?