Throughout December local religious leaders have offered messages relating to the Christmas season and the story of Christ's birth.
Here are excerpts from two recent sermons. If you would like to share a Christmas message, you can do so by creating a PDF file and uploading it here. Or, you can post it directly into our announcements section.
Excerpt from Advent Sermon of Rev. Scott MacDonald, First Evangelical Lutheran Church. (Full text attached.)
In recent weeks we looked at the gift and of Faith, (faith, the gift that trusts Christ’s promises,) the gift of hope, (hope that looks forward to whathe promises,) and today the gift of his love. Faith-hope-love, these three.They remain! So, they are like members of the same family. They just go together. You know, if hope is the eyes of faith then Love is its arms and legs to carry us along, to work it on out in our lives! So faith and hope are always active in love in the life of the believer in Christ!..
John in our text tonight says much about love. Firstly he gives a definition of love. Then he provides description of love. Let’s look at what he says. Let us love one another, John says, and why? For love is from God….That is, it is his and love is derived from him. What a definition. Love has its source in God! Then John says that “God is love!” How can this be? Love is somehow rooted in his character. Love defines who he is! So far then we see love’s definition! Now then on to love’s description. John says,“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"...So, in describing love John says it’s not about you. It’s about him! It is not that we have loved. It ist hat he has loved! Love, defined by God then is so much more than simplyaffection. It is action based, it is giving. It is living as he alone really gives it and lives it....
So our faith and our hope are active in love! In Galatians Paul says that in Christ Jesus what counts before God is only faith working through love. Now, perhaps we may appreciate more what this love is all about when we see how we so fall short. I mean doesn’t it at times seem evenmore difficult to love those we are closest too, most familiar with? Are we maybe a bit too familiar? We often see what familiarity breeds…When we love one another, John says, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. You see since Love is of God and given to his own we are able to do it, that is to begin again and again in his grace to act it out. The proof of God’s working is in the person…in our own person…until his work is complete!P aul puts it this way, again from 1 Corinthians that when “the perfectcomes, the partial will pass away.” What does he mean? Perfect love belongs to God alone! No wonder it will never end! What he begins in you he will complete in that day!
So now remain faith, hope, and love in our lives. Love is never alone. It ever has faith and hope at its side. Love is the greatest of the three as itis ultimate. In the present it gives fruit toward the neighbor and it lasts to eternity even once faith becomes sight. So faith trusts Christ’s promises,the gift of hope looks ahead to their fulfillment, and love, derived from ourLord, is the fulfillment of all of his work!…So now remain faith, hope, and love, these three; but the greatest of these is love!
Ahh, this is the season and come Christmas the reason to return again to Scrooge and Rouge and Pure White Light.
Sure enough, it’s the season of DREAMS.
So what is the SONG of your dreams?
Maybe we’ll join Betty and Bob [Bing] and Judy and Phil.
“I’m dreaming of a White Christmas, just like the ones we used to know.”
Maybe we’ll go on over to Londontown. We’ll walk up to Bedlam with old Ebenezer and hear that spooky spirit Jacob Marley hiss out,
“Scrooooge.” (The sight of it has freaked me out since I was 5!) And surely we’ll all relish in the rouged red cheeks of our own sainted Santa, all “chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, and you laugh when you see him, in spite of yourself.” All of it: de-lightful! But we are well reminded, here in the church, this first Sunday of Advent, all a diversion of dreams, if we do not dream the dreams of God that Christmas brings and do not sing the songs of hope that Christmas sings....
...Now God loves Scrooge, in spite of himself. (Us too.) And he cheers at Santa’s rouge. (As we.) He must like snowfall. Afterall, it’s God who sets it ‘round, ‘round the Holidays. But for God, LIGHT is the thing. Pure. White. Light. When God brings Jesus, God brings light, with all God’s gentleness and all God’s might...
SO, HERE”S WHAT GOD DOES! CHRISTMAS! When nothing can fix us, GOD REACHES OUT TO CATCH AND TO LIFT US! He doesn’t SEND. He COMES! He LIVES. He PITCHES TENT! He LIGHTS. Pure: no flaw. WHITE: the presence of the whole rainbow seen in each color, hew and heart of us. LIGHT. No darkness at all. Anymore. ‘Way beyond Scrooge. Realer than rouge.