Sermons 2008
The light and the darkness, Christmas Day, 25 December 2008, John 1:1-14

Home | Light and Love, Christmas 1B , 28 December 2008, John 1:1-18 | The light and the darkness, Christmas Day, 25 December 2008, John 1:1-14 | What would you see? Christmas Eve, 24 December 2008, Luke 2:1-20 | What did you say? Advent 3B, 14 December 2008, John 1:6-8. 19-28 | A refining fire, Advent 2B, 7 Dec 2008, Mark 1:1-8 | Alert, alert! Advent 1B, 30 November 2008, Mark 13:24-37 | Where will we stand: sheep or goats? Proper 29A 2008, 23 November 2008, Matthew 25: 31-46 | The talents to...? Proper 28A, 16 November 2008, Matthew 25:14-30 | Choose this day, Proper 27A, 9 November 2008, Joshua 24:14-25; Matthew 25:1-13 | All Saints A, 2 November 2008, Matthew 5:1-12; 23:1-12 | Holy or not? Proper 25A, 26 October 2008, Matthew 22:34-46 | Things: God's or Caesar's? Proper 24A, 19 October 2008, Matthew 22:15-22 | The wedding and the allegory, Proper 23A, 12 October 2008, Matthew 22:1-14 | The vineyard and the rock, Proper 22A. 5 October 2008, Matthew 21:33-46 | Deference and disobedience, Proper 21A, 28 September 2008, Exodus 17:1-7; Matthew 21:23-32 | Be content, Proper 20A , 21 September 2008, Matthew 20:1-16 | Only one true church? Proper 18A, 7 September 1008, Matthew 18:15-20 | Be content! Proper 20A, 21 September 2008, Matthew 22:1-16 | Be content! Proper 20A, 21 September 2008, Matthew 20:1-16 | Holy Name and Holy Ground, Proper 17A, Exodus 3:1-15; Matthew 16:21-28 | What's in a name? Proper 16A, 24 August 2008, Matthew 16:13-20 | Dogs? Proper 15A, 17 August 2008, Matthew 15:10-28 | Time to get out of the boat, Proper 14A, 10 August 2008, Matthew 14:22-33 | Who, me? Proper 13A, 3 August 2008, Matthew 14:13-21 | LIKE what? Proper 12A, 27 July 2008, Matthew 13:31-33, 44-52 | Good seed, bad seed, Proper 11A , 20 July 2008, Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43 | Watch the Farmer, Proper 10A, 13 July 2009, Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23 | Easy Yoke? Proper 9A 2008, 6 July 2008, Matthew 11:16-19, 25-30 | Baptism of David William and Anne Tyler, Proper 8A, 29 June 2008 | The Twelve or the Dirty Dozen? Proper 6A, 15 June 2008, Matthew 9:35-10:15 | Jesus likes sinners?, Proper 5A, 8 June 2008, Matthew 9:9-13 | Lawlessness or not? Pentecost 3A, Proper 4A, 1 June 2008, Matthew 7:21-29 | What do you mean, if? Easter 6A, 27 April 2008, John 14:15-21 | Comforting words and St Thomas, Easter 5A, 20 April 2008, John 14:1-14 | Ordinary good shepherds, Easter 4A 2008, 13 April 2008, John 10:1-10 | Light for clarity, Easter 3A, 6 April 2008, Luke 24:13-35 | "Blessed are those who....", Easter 2A, 30 March 2008, John 20:19-31 | Hallelujah! He's alive! Easter Sunday A, 23 March 2008, John 20:1-18 | He had it all, Palm Sunday A, 16 March 2008, Matthew 26:14-27:54 | Lazarus: Waiting for Jesus, Lent 5A, 9 March 2008, John 11:1-45 | Miracles Physical and Spiritual, Lent 4A, 2 March 2008, John 9:1-41 | Living Water, Lent 3A, 24 February 2008, John 4:5-42 | God's unselfish love, Lent 2A, 17 February 2008, John 3:1-17 | Temptation, Lent 1A, 10 February 2008 | Ash Wednesday, 6 February 2008, Matthew 6:1-6, 16-21 | They heard the Lord call, Epiphany 3A, 20 Jan 2008, Matthew 4:12-23 | Come and See! Epiphany 2A, 20 January 2008, John 1: 29-42 | Remember Your Baptism? Epiphany 1A, 13 January 2008, Matthew 3:13-17 | We Three Kings, The Epiphany, 6 January 2008, Matthew 2:1-12

Christmas Day 2008                           John 1:1-14


            In a large parish it was the custom for the church leaders to go on retreat each Advent.  There they planned the major activity for the Christmas season.  At one retreat they decided on a big Christmas pageant.  When it came time to map out the production they got into a discussion on how to symbolize Jesus in the manger.  They didn't want to use a doll or a statue.  And they ruled out using a real, live baby.  Finally, they decided to put a light in the manger.  During the pageant a warm glow of light would shine out from the crib.

            On opening night the church hall was packed.  The audience was expectant.  But when the curtain went up there was something was wrong.  Then everyone heard the director say in a voice, just above a whisper, "Hey George, you forgot to turn on Jesus."

            The Christmas story begins in darkness.  There was the darkness of oppression, for God's people were a conquered and occupied people. There was the universal taxation that brought Jesus, Mary, and Joseph to Bethlehem.  That first Christmas the mood was despair and the darkness of disillusionment.

            We too live in a world of darkness. There are wars and rumors of wars, hunger and unemployment, loneliness, and an emptiness across the country.  Perhaps the poet Robert Frost worded it best when he wrote: “I have been acquainted with the night.  I have walked in the rain and out of the rain.  I have been acquainted with the night.”  Scripture affirms that darkness is a real and present danger.

            Scripture also affirms that the darkness is not everything.   The prophet Isaiah wrote that “the people who walk in darkness have seen a great light.”  And Saint John tells us: “The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.”  


There’s an interesting historical footnote about light:  During the dark winter of 1864 at Petersburg, Virginia, the Confederate army of Northern Virginia was besieged by the Union Army of the Potomac.  The war had long since given way to the muck and mire of trench warfare.  One night Confederate Major General George Pickett received word that his wife had given birth to a baby boy.  Up and down the line the Confederates built huge bonfires in celebration.  These fires were soon seen in the Northern camps and General Grant sent out a patrol to see what was going on. The scouts returned with the news that Pickett had had a son and these were celebration fires. Grant and Pickett knew each other well from the old Army, so Grant also ordered bonfires to be built and burned in the baby’s honor.

            For miles on both sides of the lines fires burned. No shots fired. No yelling back and forth. No war fought, only light celebrating the birth of a child.  But it didn't last forever. Soon the fires burned down and once again the darkness came: the darkness of night and the darkness of war.

            The good news of Christmas is that in the midst of a deep darkness there came a light, and the darkness was not able to overcome that light.  It was not just a temporary flicker. It was an eternal flame.  There are times in the events of the world and in the events of our own personal lives that we may fear that the light will be snuffed out.  But the Christmas story and the Good News of Jesus Christ affirm that the light still shines.

            Into the darkness God sent eternal light.  The greatest need in our mixed up and confused world this day is to let people know that there is hope. That life is worth living no matter what.  We are the people of light and we share that light in a dark and a dreary land.

            God chose to use light from a star to guide the three wise men to Bethlehem.   That light  was an eternal reminder to them and to us that in a sea of darkness, it is the light that keeps us going forward.  The light of hope and the light of Christ leads the way.  The light of Christmas shines and enlightens and darkness in our lives and we, too, discover the pathway to Bethlehem. (2)


1.  Sunday Sermons on line

2.  “A Great Light, Brett Blair and Staff, ChristianGlobe Network, Inc, 2000, 0-0000-0000-1