Monday, December 24, 2018

Christmas Eve 2018 - Fr. Phil

Christmas Eve
Dec 24, 2018 - 9 PM
Fr. Phil Eberhart

We want to welcome you all again tonight to our first Christmas celebration as REZ in this new facility.  Isn't it amazing what God has done?!!

Christmas is about bringing the hope of salvation to the world.  It's what the whole Church is to be about!  It's our work, together with God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit - all active together in the world with one purpose.

God so loved the world, that He sent His one and only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, that those who believe in Him might have eternal life.

I got a post this morning from one of our members who is with family elsewhere tonight.  It told a story of a elderly lady who accidentally ran her grocery cart into a display of dishes, knocking them over and breaking many.  Everyone was standing and watching her try to gather up the shards, murmuring about "how are we going to pay for this?"

A good Samaritan knelt beside her to help her.  Then another.  Finally a young man, came and helped her up, saying: We can clean this up ma'am.  You have a cut on your hand we need to get taken care of.  And you owe us nothing - we have insurance for this kind of thing.

The Gospel message for this evening is that when we make a mess of our life, or life just happens and its messy, painful, cutting...
God has an answer.  Grace!  

John said in his gospel:  
[Jhn 1:14 KJV] 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

Grace... is God's policy!  It's not exactly like insurance - some would say Fire Insurance!  I would say LIFE insurance - eternal Life insurance.

Jesus was sent as a baby - I don't think I can do that justice in a few sentences.  What we celebrate here tonight takes a lifetime to contemplate - to wrap our minds around - if ever!  The best gift ever given!

In the midst of the rush and over-stimulation of the season in our over-commercialized culture, we hear moments of the message.  We see glimpses of hope, like the story we just heard.

After Jingle Bell Rock or Rockin around the Christmas Tree, comes O Holy Night on the play list.

I want to urge you to stop there!  I want to encourage you to consider the meaning of the season!  In the rush and crush of the season, we need to stop and breathe.  We need to recall why all this ...  IS all this?

It's about a baby!  It's about a miracle.  
It's why you're all here tonight in this place, at this time.  A miracle has happened in God coming among us, full of grace and truth.  He is bent down and helping us pick up the broken pieces.

But this baby wants to come in to live at your house.  ... to live at your address ... to live in your heart. He's waiting for an open door.  

Tomorrow or Wednesday the radio stations will all return to normal!  Christmas will be over.  But for us Christmas begins tomorrow - 12 days of meditation until Jan 6, the Feast of Epiphany.
The shedding of light.   

I hope that you will take some time to read and re-read the Gospel from tonight or the other accounts of Jesus birth.  Tonight we just make a beginning!

Our opening prayer this evening said it well...

O God, you have caused this holy night to shine with the brightness of the true Light: Grant that we, who have known the revelation of that Light on earth, may also enjoy him perfectly in heaven; where with you and the Holy Spirit he lives and reigns, one God, in glory everlasting. Amen.

Another of the Christmas Day prayers will be a good way to close it tonight, as we go into our communion and contemplation time.

Almighty God, you have given your only-begotten Son to take our nature upon him, and to be born of a pure virgin: Grant that we, who have been born again and made your children by adoption and grace, may daily be renewed by your Holy Spirit; through our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom with you and the same Spirit be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

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