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Christmas Eve 2018

Recorded on December 24th, 2018

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Christmas eve is amazing. It’s even better when we learn the ways that Charles Schultz has impacted the world by spreading the Word.

Transcript of Sermon:

[Music] as you’re getting to see that I keep meeting each week to welcome everybody who’s watching us online we have a lot of people Joe’s worked hard to make it so that those who can’t be here can be we’re here with us by opening up their computer or their phone so I want to say a special hi to you all thank you for being here we miss you and we love you today we have a very special guest speaker who is going to share with us our Scripture let’s listen Charlie Brown completely hopeless wretch you’ve been done before Charlie Brown but this time you really did it I guess you’re right – I shouldn’t have picked this little tree everything I do turns into a disaster I guess I really don’t know what Christmas is all about is there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown I can tell you what Christmas is all about right please and their word the same country shepherds abiding in the field keeping watch over their flock by night and lo the angel of the Lord came upon them the glory of the Lord shone round about them and they were sore afraid and he angel said unto them fear not for behold I bring you tidings of great joy there’s some key to all people for unto you Is Born This Day in the City of David a savior which is Christ the Lord and this shall be a sign unto you ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in the manger and suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying glory to God in the highest and on earth peace goodwill toward men

[Music] that’s what Christmas is all about Charlie Brown the Word of God for the people of God I brought this little this is a display from my house and if you can’t see it it’s the nativity as represented by the characters from Charlie Brown Christmas and if you didn’t know the voice that was speaking to you that was Linus from a Charlie Brown Christmas and this story has a lot of real meaning to me it’s the first Christmas movie that we watch every single year as soon as we put up our Christmas lights and we get all ready it’s usually the day after Thanksgiving if we’re home we sit down together all on the couch together as a family and we turn on a Charlie Brown Christmas and to me it really sparks the beginning of the Advent season the beginning of waiting and anticipating the coming of Christ and the reason why this story is so important in my life is that it was through the Charlie Brown Christmas TV show that I first heard about Jesus I didn’t grow up in a house that was that way where we went to church I don’t think that my family really didn’t not believe in God that God wasn’t a part of our lives but we did watch the Charlie Brown Christmas every single year and I remember one year I was probably about 10 or 11 when the words that Linus spoke really took on new meaning to me and I knew that Linus was telling me something that I needed to understand that Linus was telling me something that was important but I got to be honest I didn’t understand all of those words so there was an angel and some shepherds and everybody was praising and I didn’t understand what was so important about what Linus was saying but I did know without question that there was something for me in those words and so tonight I want to share with you what I have learned over the years about the Thomas that is Jesus about what Linus was trying to share with the world through a humble TV show of all things growing up I lived in a house that unfortunately was much is much like what a lot of people live in today we had some turmoil we had some hard times we had a lot of dysfunction which seems to be kind of normal for today’s rhythm of life and as a teenager as a young tween as a kid I struggled to understand what what life was all about I struggled to understand why we had to go through the things that we were going through and I struggled to understand what my life was supposed to be because if this is all there was to life I didn’t think I wanted much more of it because life was hard and there wasn’t much good about it and I speak with so many people today who feel that exact same way they wake up they go to work they come home they eat dinner they watch TV they go to bed they wake up they go to work they come home they eat dinner they watch TV they go to bed or they wake up they go to school they come home they do homework eat dinner watch TV go to bed it’s this cycle that sometimes mundane meaningless seeming cycle and if there aren’t things in the middle of that cycle that are truly beautiful it can be hard to want to continue on in that same cycle that just repeats itself over and over and over again of course usually there are moments of joy and happiness within there but sometimes the rigour of it all the difficulty of it all the dysfunction of it all can feel like a bit much and can start to pull you down that’s where I was when I heard – speak the words of God into my heart I remember going to I knew we had a Bible somewhere um I had an aunt who I never saw ever but she used to send us Christmas presents once she said a tape that was salty sing-along Athan Maranatha marathon hallelujah jubilee tape and I remember that song because they sing those words over and over again but my sisters and I listened to that and that was around the time when we’re hearing about Charlie Brown and through salty I learned more about who Jesus was because salty would sing songs about what Jesus could do if you grow up in church and I think that might be a Baptist thing I’m not really sure cuz I didn’t grow up in church but if you grew up in church especially a Baptist Church you might know about who’s salty is because I guess he’s really a big he’s he’s a star in the baptist world I think but she would also send us little things that she would paint and they would have verses on them of course I didn’t have a Bible to look them up in but I do remember she did send us the Bible one year and so when I was starting to try and understand what this Luke verse was all about that’s where I went and I went and I read it for myself and I read there’s angels and she says to them do not be afraid for I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all people today in the town of David a savior has been born to you and this is the Messiah the Lord and I thought why is a baby such good news what difference does this maybe baby make in my life and it wasn’t years honestly until I had a true answer to that question because that’s all I had I didn’t have church I didn’t have a resource to go to to get more information but God in His pervy niat grace and prevenient grace is this grace that goes before you it’s God coming to you it’s God wooing you to himself God had a plan for me to know him better God knew I wasn’t in a family where I could learn the things that I needed to learn about this sweet baby in a manger and so by some stroke of God it’s not luck I ended up at a Christian University I didn’t want to go to a Christian verrat University I wasn’t looking to in fact when I applied to this Christian University I had no idea it was actually a Christian University but I got in and they gave me the biggest scholarship out of all of the colleges that I applied to you so I went there and I went school and I walked in and all of the people in my suite they were all believers which doesn’t always happen in a Christian University and they all did things like devotions and I had no idea what a devotion was and they would pray and they would read their Bibles and they were smart enough or kind enough to invite me to church with them and so I started to go to church with these girls and it was in going to church and it was an in doing life with these girls in my suite that I started to understand that there was more to life than I could ever have understood that life didn’t have to be this meaningless cycle of dysfunction and of pain or this meaningless cycle of nothingness because through Jesus through this baby born to us on a beautiful crisp crisp this morning and that’s what I’m saying it is who knows what it looked like it might have been hot as the devil but for me it was a beautiful silent morning when unto us was born a savior and what I’ve come to know in following Christ as I’ve grown in my relationship with Christ is that yes Jesus was born so that you and I could be saved from our sins Jesus was born to create a bridge between you and God Jesus was born to bring the love of God to us through his son but what we’ve done in Christianity and I think what it was kind of hurting us right now as we’ve made it all about salvation that Jesus being born on Christmas morning was all about you and I being safe from our sins and then once we’re safe from our sins that’s all there is to it we just need to start going to church and we can kind of be semi religious and if we change just a little bit that’s all we need but in my life I learned that Jesus is so much more than that you see what God did on Christmas morning was not about creating an equation where you and I accept forgiveness into our lives and have a new relationship with God and then start this and a religion of going to church God doesn’t care about religion God did not send his son so that we would have a building God did not send his son so we’d have this rhythm of going to church every Sunday morning and checking off that box and saying we did what we were supposed to do this week no God sent his son because God desperately desperately wanted his family back together again you see Jesus in the manger is not about theology it is not about religion Jesus in the manger is about love and our adoption as children of God you see as we accept the love of Jesus into our lives you and I get the honor and the privilege of becoming children of God and when Christ is your father when Christ is your bridge to the Father when Christ everlasting father wonderful counselor mighty God Prince of Peace comes into your life you don’t join a religion you join a family and every time we say yes to God in every new heart that says yes to God is God’s family coming back together again because when God created the universe when God created the heavens and the earth when God created Adam and Eve God created perfection God created out of love God did not need us God wanted us because he wanted relationship with you and me God wants us to be his children God wants to be a relationship with us and that’s what he had with Adam and Eve in the garden he had perfect relationship there was no dysfunction there was no pain there is no monotony there was love and there was family there was Adam and Eve and they walked literally walked in the gardens with God and God sent this baby to the manger so that you and I could once again be members of that family so that God’s loved ones could come home for all of us who have the privilege of being parents I think we can understand just the tiniest bit how much God must want his family back together again because once you have children you can’t even begin to describe the love that you have for those children God created you specifically you out of love and God is desperate for every child that he created to come home to come home and to experience the life that he created us for a life of community with each other a life of hope a life of peace a life of relationship with him but instead sin came into this world and it put a wall between that relationship with us and God and from the moment that free will had its way in this world and we’ve all had our moments of free will gone wild there is brokenness and there’s hurting and the only way to escape that brokenness and hurting is for each one of us children to come home to kneel before the manger to say god I’m so thankful for your love and I’m so sorry for the ways that I’ve wondered I want to be part of that family again I want to experience that love I want the peace that passes understanding and the peace that only comes from knowing you so Christmas morning is not about religion Christmas morning is not about a candlelit service which is a really great way of remembering but it’s not what it’s about Christmas morning is not about presents and songs and we say that all the time Christmas morning is about us being accepted back into a family faultless and blameless can you imagine what it would be like to be able to go to a Christmas party without every family member every single one even crazy Uncle Al all is there and you show up and you walk in the door and every person that’s there looks at you with love and with happiness there is no judgement there is no oh my gosh I cannot believe that Joe was wearing that suit again this year I swear he learned last year not to wear that Christmas suit right my husband Joe’s in the back with a very fun suit on if you hadn’t noticed you should check it out later sometimes when we experience family see I’m I’m a describing something to you that you may not want because your experience of family may be something that’s very not fun your experience of family may be something that’s very judgmental and hurtful but the family that I’m talking about is a family that’s created by God and there’s nothing but love and joy in this family can you imagine what a Christmas experience like that would be and that’s what we together are semi mirroring the hope of heaven us together on this Christmas Eve is the community of Christ coming together to recognize how much we are loved and accepted in our Father and I think that’s what you and I need to do this year we need to share with the world that our Jesus our God is not about religion it’s not about Sunday morning it’s not about tithes and it’s not about buildings our Jesus our God is about love see Jesus came to earth he gave up his godly position of perfection in perfection to take on the skin and when he took on skin like you and I have skin Jesus took on pain like you and I have pain Jesus took on struggle like you and I have struggled Jesus experienced life exactly the way that you and I experienced life so that he could minister to you so that he could stand before God in front of you Jesus came for love and what people need to know is that there is a God that has skin in the game you see so many religions only tell of a God who sits back and waits for people to come to God to come to him so many religions show a God that’s only about judgment and about what’s right and what’s wrong but our God our God pursues us our God goes before us our God comes to us before we’re ever ready to hear of him and start sharing how much he loves us through people through nature through the creations of this earth through crazy little TV shows where a creator was brave enough to say I want this on TV and he fought for it and I can only imagine how many other lives besides mine were touched because somebody showed me that there was more to life than this so can you and I this year do a better job of sharing what Jesus is all about to the people around us sharing that it’s not about religion because they don’t care about religion they do not care about theology they do not care about what the church is fighting about right now they just don’t and you know what they shouldn’t because God is more interested in the fact that they are loved and they need to know that they are loved God is more interested in the fact that you know that you are loved unbelievably unimaginably loved and that’s what Christmas is Christmas is the birth of hope of joy and of peace because of the love that God showed to you and I on a Christmas morning you guys are God is not a computer who sits back unthinkingly unknowingly unemotionally dictating this world our Creator is full of emotion our Creator created out of love and the purpose of Jesus is that the creator’s family would be whole again Jesus came that we may have life abundant life a life that is not mundane a life that is not full of dysfunction and that is a gift and a promise to you God doesn’t want converts God simply wants his family back together again and that’s the invitation to us today if there’s anyone here who has not accepted Christ into their life the invitation is open to you now in every moment of every day of the rest of your life come back to the family come back home because in Jesus there is a life unlike any you could ever imagine and I wish I could describe in words the difference of my life before God and that what my life is like now with God now let me say it’s not free of troubles that’s not the promise my life has plenty of ups and downs and plenty of troubles but with Christ it’s different all you have to do to accept Christ into your life is simply pray and say yes God I see and I want to be your child again and I’m sorry that I’ve stayed far away and I’m sorry that I’ve sinned but please help me to know you more we’re gonna pray together now we’re gonna pray for all of us who are already children of God that we would step into our position of adoption we are adopted children of God and we’re going to pray for all of those who have not yet accepted the adopted life of a child of God that they would know the love and peace that comes from knowing the one that came on Christmas morning let’s pray it’s so humbling father to be before you on this unbelievable beautiful night on the precipice of a morning into which you gave us your son and Jesus how you deigned to come down and live in skin as a human hurting like we hurt we are so privileged to be so loved God thank you for loving us before we even know who you are thank you for loving us so much that you chase after us never stopping never trying – never letting go of the hope of our salvation God for those of us who are far from you now god help us to lift our hearts to you again or for the first time give us the courage we need to say yes and it’s crazy to think that we need courage in this time but we do and God for those of us who are strong adopted children help us to walk this year in a way that shows the world not religion but love not law but life thank you for the gift of hope that you gave to us may we take that gift and share it with the world it’s in the name of Jesus that we pray amen