December Sermon Series
“While they were there, the time came for Mary to have her baby. She gave birth to her firstborn child, a son, wrapped him snugly, and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.” - Luke 2:6
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the debut of “Silent Night, Holy Night.” This hymn has become a beloved favorite for thousands of Christians around the world who look forward to the very moment in worship where “Silent Night” is sung in the darkness by candlelight. You are invited to come experience this timeless classic as we celebrate this carol’s message over the entire season of Advent and highlight its call for our lives that can guide us all year long.
Week 1: December 2nd: “Sleep in Peace--PEACE” Isaiah 2:1-4; Isaiah 9:2, 6-7
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 - vs. 1
One of the most famous stories about this beloved hymn took place in World War One. British and German soldiers on the front lines called a truce on Christmas Day. So close were the encampments from which they were fighting one another, they could hear each other in peaceful quiet of the truce singing “Silent night,” each in their own language. This prompted soldiers to come out and meet on the battlefield, without weapons, and they spent their day playing soccer and exchanging small gifts--whatever they had. Humanity is the holy infant for whom God so desires a heavenly peace. Is it possible to bring calm and bright to our own corners of this world?
Week 2: December 9th: “Glories Stream--JOY” Psalm 86:9-11; Luke 2:8-20
Silent night, holy night!
Shepherds quake at the sight,
Glories stream from heaven afar,
Heavenly hosts sing “Alleluia"!
Christ, the Savior is born,
Christ, the Savior is born - vs. 2
The shepherds got quite a wake-up call that night when the sky lit up "like a Christmas tree" (so to speak). Awe at the transformative glory of what God can do in our lives is the focus this week. Glories are streaming every day if we only have eyes to see. How would our lives be renewed if we saw the world and our lives through the lens of wonder?
Come experience the JOY of this season as the children and youth of our church share in a special Christmas Story experience.
Week 3: December 16th: “Redeeming Grace--LOVE” John 1:1-18
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 - vs. 3
The presence of God in human form is the "dawn" of redeeming grace, says the hymn's third verse. God so desired to be "up close and personal" that God came to live, breathe, feel, teach, touch, and love. Made in the image of God, we are called to nurture relationships that birth, multiply and radiate grace in the world. What would the world be like if “love’s pure light” was at the center?
Week 4: December 23rd: “Let Us Sing--HOPE” Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 2:1-12
Silent night! Holy night!
Wondrous star, lend thy light;
with the angels let us sing,
"Alleluia" to our King:
“Christ the Savior is born!
Christ the Savior is born.” - vs. 4
The last verse of the hymn invites us to lift our voices in alleluia's to the one who is "King." This descriptor was more radical for the people of Jesus' time as it resisted the powers of empire that threatened "the least of these" that Jesus came to serve. We are reminded by this seemingly benign and sweet song that whenever there is injustice in this world, we are to look to the one whose power is love. How might this increase our hope for the future?
Christmas Eve: December 24th: 5:30 pm: “Calm and Bright” Luke 2:1-20
There is something about Christmas Eve. It is hard to describe that "something" that many of us feel and it is different, to be sure, for everyone. The older we are and the more memories we accumulate, the more complex the feeling becomes. Perhaps the tendency for reflection upon one's life and the presence or absence of loved ones on this night is why we love to hear "all is calm, all is bright." On this night we remember the promise of God–that God would be "Emmanuel," God-with-us forever more.
Come and join in this family-friendly service as we hear the Christmas Story, sing several Christmas hymns, and share in Holy Communion.
1st Sunday of Christmas: December 30th: “...Is Born” Revelation 21:1-6
The story continues. Even though we feel as if the Christmas "season" is over and the tree is quick to come down, the real story begins again in the renewal of our very souls as God nudges us toward new life and possibilities in the new year. What is being born within us this day?