Children’s Christmas Service
In the name of Jesus my dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Do you remember when you were once up here doing this? Maybe you had the opportunity at the church you grew up in to participate in the children’s Christmas service. Do you remember what it was like? Do you remember the excitement because Christmas is almost here? Do you remember the anticipation mounting from all those long practices? Do you remember the wonder of being in front of many people, the wonder of having many eyes looking at you, the wonder of sharing the Christmas message in church, the wonder of knowing this is something important, this is something awesome, the wonder of hearing and learning and reviewing again all of the wonder and wondrous aspects of this one-of-a-kind birth? Remember that?
Well, what happened? Where did all that wonder of Christmas you felt so long ago go? What happened?
Well, maybe you’ll say, “I grew older and began to experience more things in life, I’m not so naïve and the world isn’t as rosy as I once pictured it” or “I’ve gotten so busy in life – I’m going here, going there, doing this, doing that, I just don’t have time to sit and ponder that Christmas account anymore.” Or “there’s just too much else to distract me” – we have bits and pieces of news coming at us from all directions- newspaper, internet, cell phone. We run on a constant sort of sensory overload- so much to see, so much to think about, so much coming at us. Soon it doesn’t seem to matter if we here bad news or good news, it just doesn’t seem to make much difference anymore, we remember it a short time and soon its business as usual.
Well, that’s our world today, isn’t it? In fact, psychologists and philosophers today are saying that we’re losing our sense of wonder. We’ve experienced so much, seen so much, been through so much today, are we losing our sense of wonder?
Well, add to that how the people of world try to convince themselves that there’s no hell below us, and that might give a little respite from the terrors of the night but if there’s no hell below us then we’re just a couple steps away from believing there’s no heaven above us, only sky, and if it’s just sky above us then that kind of just leaves us all here on this earth all alone, just staring at each other in the dark. Then there is no hope. Then all we’ve been hearing today is just a nice story not much more than Santa Clause and the Elves.
I thank God that He has preserved in me a sense of holy wonder. It is my constant prayer, “Lord, take not your Holy Spirit from me.” Yes, there are times when I feel my doubts, when I’m troubled with feelings of despair, when I’m caught up with here today and gone tomorrow rat race we call this life.
But then there’s something about that Christmas account that never fails to rekindle in me a sense of amazement and wonder.
And when I look again at what our God was doing there, there are 3 things that never cease to amaze me. Look in that little town of Bethlehem. First, it’s God who came to earth. Indeed God does stand far above us in all might and majesty in glory- why should he be mindful of us? Why should you or I care about that ant crawling on the ground underneath our feet? But that’s not the thought here. Here God knows us. He knows who we are in all of the ugliness of our sin, in all of our problems and perversity. Animals know their master, my pet dog knows her master, she comes when I call her, but WE humans don’t know our God! Though the world was made through Him, the world did not recognize, he came to people he knew would kill him, and here’s the amazing part: he knew all of that and yet he still came, he lived among us, he joined himself to us. Is that not a wonder?
Second: He came so low, if you look for him in palaces, in the centers of power, in government offices, you won’t find him, a lowly maiden is his mother, look for him in large homes or mansions, you won’t find him, foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests but for Jesus? A manger, a feeding trough, is his first resting place and even that he has to borrow from cattle. He comes so small and so gentle. Like Martin Luther said, “There’s nothing to be afraid of in a baby.” That’s exactly it, isn’t it? He didn’t have to, but He chose to come so small and gentle not to frighten us with His power and majesty, but so small and gentle to woo us, to draw us to Himself with his compassionate, and gracious, and forgiving love. Is that not a wonder?
And finally, the third wonder: He does this all for me, he does this all for you. I mean, I know who I am, I know what I’ve done, I know what I’ve failed to do, my sin is ever before me, but there is no mistaking the prophets word: for you, for you a child is born, there is no mishearing the angel’s voices: unto YOU is born this day a Savior, he is Christ the Lord,
May God fill you with that wonder this Christmas! Amen.