Christmas Eve—Year B—Dec 24, 2014

Christmas Eve—Year B—Dec 24, 2014

Preached at the Lutheran Church of Framingham

Let the words of mouth and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer. Amen.

This past Sunday, December 21, was the winter solstice—the shortest day of the year—the darkest day of the year…but tonight we celebrate the light that conquers all darkness, no mater how long, how great, how dark it might get. For this night we celebrate the “light of light eternal.”[1]

Despite the “yoke of [our] burden, the bar across [our] shoulders, the rod of [our] oppressors,”[2] our sorrow, depression, addiction, illness, injuries, thorns, broken relationships, hectic schedules, “life’s crushing load,”[3] poverty…our God is “now in flesh appearing.”[4] It happened once two thousand years ago in the form of the Baby Jesus, but God continues to break into our world, shining light in the darkness, showing us glimpses of the wonderful eternal life that is God’s kingdom.

Isaiah talks about a people who have “walked in darkness”—the Israelites who were taken off to Exile in Babylon—but just as they “[saw] a great light” and were delivered from their adversity, so too, on us a light shines.[5]

We know this light by many names: “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace,”[6] King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Immanuel, the Great I am, Saving Grace, Ancient of Days, Alpha-Omega, Beginning & End, Savior, Messiah, Redeemer—Jesus.

And we hear the story and spread the good news with many songs.

What a wonderful medium music is! Singing—allows us to easily spread good news full of emotion and it gets stuck in our head—music even lasts trough Alzheimer’s disease and is one of the last things we tend to forget. But we do not sing alone—all of creation sings of Jesus’ birth with us—mountains echo in reply[7]—the lowest: shepherds, the others: magi—Angels from on high “bending near the earth to touch their harps of gold”[8]—“heaven and nature sing”[9]—as we join in their song and “repeat the sounding joy”.[10]

So we light candles in the midst of the darkness to remind us of Jesus—the light of the world—and of the fact that by his death “God and sinners [are] reconciled” once and for all[11]—and we carry that light—“loves pure light”[12]—out into our weary world in our hearts, on our minds, hearing the echoes of the heavenly music, with a song of joy on our lips.[13] Amen.

[1] “Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful”

[2] Isaiah 9:4, NRSV.

[3] “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”

[4] “Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful”

[5] Isaiah 9:2, NRSV.

[6] Isaiah 9:6, NRSV.

[7] “Angels We Have Heard on High”

[8] “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”

[9] “Joy to the World”

[10] “Joy to the World”

[11] “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”

[12] “Silent Night, Holy Night”

[13] “It Came Upon the Midnight Clear”

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