Happy Christmas 2018
While you should be getting this message on Christmas Eve, I’m actually writing it on December 20th. Because today is Christmas Eve, Terri and I won’t be in the office today, but we wanted to schedule an E-Gram to go out as normal. Just be aware that it won’t contain any of the updates from Sunday.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the series, “The Old, Familiar Carols.” I’m going to preach one additional sermon in this series on December 30th—“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” This is, of course, the song from which our Advent series this year took it’s title. We will ask the questions, “Does Christmas really make any difference? What difference has it made that Jesus Christ was born?” When Longfellow wrote his poem which forms the basis of this carol, the United States was embroiled in its Civil War. It was a time of despair, and you can hear the melancholy in Longfelllow’s words:
And in despair I bowed my head;
“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Do you ever feel that way? Did it make a difference that Jesus was born? I will always say, “Yes!” it has made all the difference. Although we still experience the effects of evil, and we struggle with evil and sin in our own lives, Jesus’ birth marks the beginning of the end for evil and sin. Christ came to bring peace and to bring life. So we respond:
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,
The Right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men.”
This is the promise and this is the hope that Jesus’ birth brings. We continue to live as followers of Christ who hold tightly to the hope of a world made new. We work to do what we can so that the kingdom will come, but we also wait in hopeful expectation for Christ’s return when his work will be consummated.
I hope and pray that this is a meaningful Christmas season for you and your family. My prayer is that no matter what circumstances you find yourself in that the hope that Jesus brings will empower and fill you. Also, think about those around you who need to hear the hopeful message of the gospel. Won’t you tell them about what Jesus means to you? Won’t you invite them to join with us at North Danvers Mennonite Church as we together “seek to be led by his Word” and to “reach out with love.”