Christmas Eve Sermons

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1. Christmas Eve: What Was Seen At Bethlehem - Luke 2:8-20
2. Candle Lighting Service & Sermon: A Great Light - Matthew 4:16
3. Christmas Sermon: No Room In The Inn - Luke 2:1-7
4. Advent Sermon: Surprise, It's Christmas  -  Luke 1:26-38
5. First Person Skit: "A Personal Testimony" - Luke 2:1-7 

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    1st SERMON FOR LUKE 2:8-20

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Sermon Opener 

I wonder what I would have heard had I been there that night. It is a question that annually haunts me. Would I have heard the choirs of angels singing or simply the sounds of barnyard animals shifting around? Would I have seen the star in the sky that night or simply two poor and very frightened kids? Would I have understood the hushed silence of the divine presence, or simply the chill of a cold east wind. Would I have understood the message of Emmanuel, God with us, or would the cosmic implications of that evening have passed me by? 

I am convinced that had two people been there that night in Bethlehem it is quite possible that they could have heard and seen two entirely different scenes. I believe this because all of life is this way. God never presents himself in revelation in a manner in which we are forced to believe. We are always left with an option, for that is God's way. Thus, one person can say "It's a miracle, while another says "It's coincidence." 

Certainly very few people in Palestine saw and heard and understood what took place that night. The choirs of angels singing were drowned out by the haggling and trading going on in the Jerusalem bazaar. There was a bright star in the sky but the only ones apparently to pay any attention to it were pagan astrologers from the East. If anyone did see Mary and Joseph on that most fateful night, they were too preoccupied with their own problems to offer any assistance. 

In one of the All in the Family episodes that aired some years ago Edith and Archie are attending Edith's high school class reunion. Edith encounters an old classmate by the name of Buck who, unlike his earlier days. had now become excessively obese. Edith and Buck have a delightful conversation about old times and the things that they did together, but remarkably Edith doesn't seem to notice how extremely heavy Buck has become. Later, when Edith and Archie and talking, she says in her whiny voices "Archie, ain't Buck a beautiful person." Archie looks at her with a disgusted expression and says: "You're a pip, Edith. You know that. You and I look at the same guy and you see a beautiful person and I see a blimp. Edith gets a puzzled expression on her face and says something unknowingly profound, "Yeah, ain't it too bad." 

You see, what we see and what we hear in life depends not upon the events but rather.... 

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   2nd SERMON FOR LUKE 2:1-7

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Wally was big for his age--seven years old. Everyone wondered what role the teacher would give him in the annual Christmas play. Especially considering the fact that he was also a slow learner. Perhaps he could pull the curtain. 

To everyone's surprise the teacher gave Wally the role of the innkeeper. The boy of course was delighted. After all, all he had to learn was one line: 

"There is no room in the inn." He had that down in no time. 

Then came the night for the program. The parents took their places. Every seat in the auditorium was filled. The children entered singing "Oh come all ye faithful." The lights dimmed. A hush moved over the audience. The curtain opened on Scene One. Mary and Joseph entered the stage and walked up to the inn. "Please sir, my wife is not well. Could we have a room for the night?" 

Wally was ready for his line. He had rehearsed it all night. He began, "there is", and he hesitated. He started over again. There is. . .and again his mind went completely blank. Everyone was embarrassed for him but poor Wally just didn't know what to do. Joseph thought he would improvise and started walking away toward the stable on stage left. Seeing him walking away Wally in desperation called out: "Look, there's plenty of room at my house, just come on home with me." 

That seems a rather delightful twist on a familiar story. Over the years the characters in the Christmas story have become clearly defined for us. The issues all seem so clear cut. Herod was a villain and the wise men were heroes. The shepherds were heroes and the Innkeeper--well, the poor innkeeper has gone down as one of the heavies in the story. In our minds eye, we envision him as a crotchety old man with a night cap on his head sticking his head out a second story window and tersely shouting: Take the stable and leave me alone. 

But perhaps the innkeeper has received bad press. Preachers over the centuries have had a field day with the poor fellow. But was it his fault that the inn was built with twelve rooms instead of thirteen? Was it his fault that Caesar Augustus had issued a decree that the entire world should be taxed? Was it his fault that Mary and Joseph were so late in arriving? 

But you know something; this simple little statement about there being no room in the Inn becomes a symbol for Luke. As he writes his gospel it almost becomes a theme. Luke takes this one line, "There is no room in the inn," and shows us how this phrase was recurrent throughout Jesus' ministry. The question that Luke leaves for us is--will there ever be any room for him? 

1. There was no room for Jesus in the economic world.
2. There was no room for Jesus in the legal realm.
3. There was no room for Jesus in the realm of the religious order.
4. There was no room for Jesus in the world of politics.
5. Let's look at us today--to you and to me. Do we have room for Christ in our lives?

 
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   First Person Skit for Christmas Eve LUKE 2:1-7

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 A Personal Testimony 

Would you allow me to be personal? I have an unusual story to tell, and I delight in telling it. My work brings me into contact with many people.  In fact, I deal with all kinds of people from the humblest country folk to the highest officials. 

But the event I most vividly recall happened at one of the year's peak seasons. Our country's leader had felt that additional taxes were needed for us to meet our budget, so he had urged all local citizens to have their names registered at the polls, so they could be duly taxed. Of course, this meant many thousands had to make their way across the countryside to the city which represented their political interests. 

I recall the weather...still cool...although the fresh smell of spring was in the air. Grass was even good enough for limited grazing on the nearby hillsides. And the days...rather pleasant, but I must admit the nights were somewhat chilly. 

But one night in particular stands out in my memory. It seems that the crowds had been unusually large that day. And many had come by seeking lodging for the night, as they lived at too great a distant to return home for bedtime. Already I had turned dozens away to seek shelter elsewhere. [If stool is used, sit here] Exhausted, I had dozed off at the register's counter when I was awakened by a gentle "tap-tap-tapping" on the counter-top. "Coming to" with a start, I made out the figure of a young couple, standing in the lingering shadows of the lamp light. 

"May I help you?" I asked, [jumping-up and off of stool]. As the young man stood by his pretty companion, he began to speak in a low, trembling voice....