Greetings and welcome to the Christmas Eve Service.
In Genesis 3:8-15 God announces in the Garden of Eden that the Seed of woman shall bruise the serpent’s head…
Genesis 22:18 reveals God’s promise to Abraham, that in his seed all the nations of the earth will be blessed. This is ultimately fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus
Isaiah 6 & 7; 9:2 Isaiah foretells Christ’s birth and His kingdom.
In Micah 5:2-4 the prophet foretells the glory of little Bethlehem.
In Luke 1:26-38 the angel Gabriel visits the virgin Mary to tell her that she as great favor with the Lord and will give birth to His Son, the Most High.
Matthew 1 tells of the birth of Jesus and tonight we are here to join the heavenly host of angels as we celebrate and sing to Jesus, Emmanuel, THE Savior of the world.
Christmas is about the first advent (coming) of Jesus. But just as assuredly as He came the first time, He is coming again.
The only way to prepare for the Second Advent is to be prepared by the first one.
The only way to be prepared by the first advent is to receive and be transformed by God’s great gift of Jesus.
What do we find in the gift of Jesus? We find the very things the human heart and soul and our dark world longs for at the deepest level of who we are.
First thing I want to talk to you about is hope.
Isaiah 11:1 – 5
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
2 And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.
3 And his delight shall be in the fear of the Lord.
He shall not judge by what his eyes see,
or decide disputes by what his ears hear,
4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor,
and decide with equity for the meek of the earth;
and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
5 Righteousness shall be the belt of his waist,
and faithfulness the belt of his loins.
These verses speak to the coming heir of King David (Christ the Messiah) and how He will transform the world and bring triumph…
At the end of chapter 10 there is a portrayal of the destruction of arrogant human evil as a cutting down of a vast forest…
Now, Isaiah presents the Messiah as a shoot or twig growing from a stump remaining after God’s judgment.
No matter how lost or hopeless a situation seems to be, because Jesus have been given there is always HOPE. Christmas shouts and screams the message that no matter how lost or hopeless a situation seem, there is always hope.
Luke 1:46 – 55
And Mary said, “My soul magnifies the Lord,
47 and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant.
For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for he who is mighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 And his mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts;
52 he has brought down the mighty from their thrones
and exalted those of humble estate;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 as he spoke to our fathers,
to Abraham and to his offspring forever.”
Mary magnifies the Lord here because she has this overwhelming sense of hope. Then she moves out to state the hope that all believers can have in the promises of God.
Then, she mentions Abraham, which highlights how God is faithful to fulfill His covenant and salvation promises – and that ignites hope.
After hope, we have peace.
Ezekiel 37:26 – 28
I will make a covenant of peace with them. It shall be an everlasting covenant with them. And I will set them in their land and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in their midst forevermore. 27 My dwelling place shall be with them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28 Then the nations will know that I am the Lord who sanctifies Israel, when my sanctuary is in their midst forevermore.”
Christmas proclaims that Jesus desires to be in our midst.
Romans 5:1, 2
Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.
Those who have been justified by faith in God have an unshakable hope. We know that we will be saved from God’s wrath when he judges because of what Jesus has done for us. (Substitutionary death)
Through Jesus God has declared us righteous. Therefore we no longer have fear of God but peace with God…
Isaiah 9:1 – 3
But there will be no gloom for her who was in anguish. In the former time he brought into contempt the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in the latter time he has made glorious the way of the sea, the land beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the nations.
2 The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness,
on them has light shone.
3 You have multiplied the nation;
you have increased its joy;
they rejoice before you
as with joy at the harvest,
as they are glad when they divide the spoil.
Spiritual gloom can be wiped out forever by the light of the Messiah, Jesus Christ…
Luke 2:8 – 14
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.
10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel ha multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
hope, all of the hope that you need to get into eternity. Peace, God has given us His peace. Joy, God has given us Joy in the person of Jesus Christ.
One last Christmas present is Love.
Zephaniah 3:15 – 17
The Lord has taken away the judgments against you;
he has cleared away your enemies.
The King of Israel, the Lord, is in your midst;
you shall never again fear evil.
16 On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
“Fear not, O Zion;
let not your hands grow weak.
17 The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.
God is crazy about you. One of my favorite things about the Christmas season is when the news stations show footage of troops coming home, and how they connect with love ones, and not let go. This is now God thinks of you. He loves you that much. The enemy has been doing a pretty good job of keeping from us how much God loves us. The church fall short of letting others know how much God loves them. The verse says he will quiet you by his love. God loves you. You can have the best Christmas in your life if you only receive into your spirit that God loves you.
1 John 4:7 – 10
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8 Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9 In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
What an amazing love. The second advent means that Jesus is coming a second time. On this Christmas eve, make a decision that all of the hope, peace, joy, and love of God, that you will receive it this Christmas.