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Christmas Eve

[1 John 4:7-11] “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. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”

Born for Two Dark Nights

[Isaiah 7:10-14. Micah 5:2-3. Luke 2:1-21]

“The Virgin shall conceive and bear a son and shall call His name ‘Immanuel’ (which means ‘God with us’)”; “But you, O Bethlehem …. from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel”; “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.”

In Bethlehem, which means “House of Bread”, in this city of David, Christ is born of the young virgin, Mary. In the “House of Bread” the One who is called the “Bread of Life” is laid down in the manger, an animal’s feeding trough. The Bread of Life is fed to a dying humanity. The very Light of God is born into the darkness.

Christ is the Light of the world, the Light which no darkness can overcome. Tonight, by the light of candles, we will sing of the Holy, Silent Night in which Christ the Savior is found born. On that night, the Christ Child, our Lord, is greeted by friends – shepherds who proclaim the news of His birth. In His manger, He is worshiped by kings from the East bearing gifts.

Christ, the Precious Child, is born, however, not to be only a precious child. This Child Jesus is born for this first dark night only to face another. He is born to set His face toward the Friday in which the Sun will be darkened and Day will become Night. On the Dark Night of the Cross, the Savior Born is the Savior who Dies. The Innocent for the Guilty. The Righteous for the Unrighteous. The Precious for the Sinner.

I love the preciousness of tonight’s Holy Night, yet it is my sin which darkened this very Childs’ Good Friday. So, I receive the Pure Child in Repentance from my Impurities. I rejoice at His birth because He is born a Savior who loved with the Love of God. The Child born of Mary is born One who loves those who have failed in their love for Him. He is truly a Precious Child – He loved with the Love of God.

“In this is love, not that we have loved God but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation – the sacrifice - for our sins.” The Child Born tomorrow took on flesh only to offer Himself as a slain Sacrifice to save the guilty. “While we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly…. God shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” [Romans 5:6-8]. “God so loved the world…” that He gave this only-begotten Child for us [John 3:16].

The Child Born tomorrow is more than a Precious Son. He is a Savior. He is “Immanuel” – “God with us”. He is “Jesus” – “God Saves”. And He is your sustenance; and He is your life. In one dark night, He shows you the humility and innocence in which God is willing to come to you. In another dark night, He shows you the love with which God has loved you.

Sing of both Holy Nights – they always belong together. Behind every manger scene belongs a cross. And, brothers and sisters, and young children, because of what this Child born tomorrow has done for you, love one another just as God in Christ has so loved you. Amen.

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