Have a Merry Christmas everyone. Here’s my gift to the world this Christmas. Here are the general notes from last night’s Christmas Eve Sermon. May God bless us, everyone.
The band (or individual instrument) plays Silent Night instrumentally as the campus pastor steps up to speak
Pastor Josef Mohr had a problem. It was December 23rd and the church organist, Franz Gruber, had told him earlier in the day that the church organ had broken pipes, making the instrument inoperable until extensive repairs could be made. In Obendorf, Austria in 1818, it was unheard of to have a Christmas Eve service without organ music.
Not knowing what to do, Pastor Mohr took a walk through the snow, enjoying the majestic silence of the evening. As he walked, he remembered a poem he had written two years earlier about the night when Jesus was born. The next day Mohr took the poem to Franz Gruber, who set the poem to music.
That evening, the small Oberndorf congregation heard Gruber and Mohr sing a duet of their brand new Christmas carol, Silent Night. If they had known how famous the song would become, they would have been grateful for those broken pipes. God took what was broken and made something beautiful.
Let’s sing the first verse of that song:
Silent night, Holy night, All Is Calm, All Is Bright,
Round Yon Virgin, Mother and Child
Holy Infant, So Tender and Mild
Sleep in Heavenly Peace,
Sleep in Heavenly Peace.
(instrumental music continues)
Sleep in Heavenly Peace. Many of us have sung this part of this Christmas carol for years. It is nice to think about the Baby Jesus sleeping peacefully. However, before His birth, it actually wasn’t so peaceful for Mary and Joseph. We don’t know everything that happened on the night that Jesus was born, but we do know what the Bible tells us in Luke chapter two:
(Campus Pastor reads Luke 2:1-14)
“At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
Let’s sing together again.–
Silent night, Holy night, Son of God, Love’s Pure Light
Radiant Beams From Thy Holy Face,
With the Dawn of Redeeming Grace,
Jesus, Lord at Thy Birth,
Jesus, Lord at Thy Birth.
Jesus was Lord at His birth. We know this because of the words in John chapter one. Speaking of Jesus, John wrote: “In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. He existed in the beginning with God.” (John 1:1-2)
Jesus, being God, lowered Himself to become one of us. The angel who appeared to Mary even said He would be called Emmanuel, which means, “God with us.”
Why would Jesus lower Himself to be born as a human? It’s a question that’s been asked for thousands of years.
With the exception of Jesus, everyone who has ever lived has sinned in some way. The Bible says that “We all fall short of short of God’s glorious standard.” (Romans 3:23)
What does this all mean? Is there any hope for us at all?
The first part of Romans 6:23 says, “The wages of sin is death…” When someone works at a job, after a predetermined point of time, they receive their wages, or payment, for what they’ve done. Therefore, we know that the wages we receive for our sin is death, or eternal separation from God.
Doesn’t look good for us, does it?
However, in the second part of Romans 6:23, we see that “the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.”
As we sang earlier, Jesus was Lord at His birth. But He didn’t stay a baby. He grew up; lived a totally sinless life; and gave Himself as a perfect sacrifice for us. In other words, He took our punishment for us.
We learn from 1 John 1:9 that “If we confess our sins to Him, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness.”
Because of our sin, we’re all broken, but Jesus is the Restorer of everything that is broken. _____ years ago, I realized my own brokenness. I realized my own need for Jesus.
(Share in 3 minutes how you came to Christ)
Tonight, you may realize your own brokenness, but you have the opportunity to make things right with God this evening. God can take your broken life and create something beautiful.
(Lead the people through a salvation prayer and having them indicate their decision on their communication cards)
If you prayed that prayer with me and you meant it, this Jesus, who was Lord at His birth and who died on the cross for you, is now your Lord and Savior. He is able to turn your broken life around. He’s the whole reason we’re here tonight. Christmas is all about celebrating His birthday. Let’s remember this as we sing the third verse of Silent Night.
Silent night, Holy night, Shepherds Quake at the Sight,
Glories Stream From Heaven Above,
Heavenly Hosts Sing Hallelujah!
Christ the Savior is Born!
Christ the Savior is Born!
(At this point, your worship team can either go back into verse 1 or transition to the chorus of the song “He Loves Us” by Kim Walker)
John, thanks for the beautiful Christmas Gift.