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A Saviour Is Born!

Isaiah 9:6
Birth announcements tell us a lot about the parents and about society.
From the birth announcements we can learn what names are popular.
We can also learn about the ideals and expectations of parents as they welcome new children into their families.

Some announcements could read like this:

Then there is this one: "Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given ...and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor,
the mighty God, the everlasting father, the Prince of Peace
." (Isaiah 9:6)

When we welcome a new-born child into our midst we do so with a mixture of joy and of hope for the future.
We have great expectations for this new arrival.

What is our response to the birth of Jesus?
It should be a sense of joy and of wonder, but so often we experience a sense of nostalgia and a desire
for simpler times and maybe a fear of the future.

We want Christmas to remind us of our childhood, and of the happy memories of old, even if
those "happy times" were during the Great Depression.
And maybe because of that nostalgic desire, we also often want to leave the baby Jesus in His crib.
A baby Jesus is much easier to deal with than an adult Jesus.

As N.T. Wright in For All Of God's Worth points out:

"We want Christmas to be "a season of nostalgia, of carols and candle and firelight and happy children.
But that misses the point completely.

Christmas is not a reminder that the world is really a nice old world.
It reminds us that the world is a really bad world, where wickedness flourishes unchecked,
where children are murdered, where war is raging all over our world.

Christmas is God lighting a candle; and a candle is lit in the darkness,
and its light reveals just how bad things really are

"The light shines in the darkness," says John, and the darkness has not overcome it."

When we give birth to a child, it is an act of hope in the future.
Whether we hope for that child to become a linebacker, or a teacher, or a carpenter, we expect the baby
to grow into a loving, productive member of our community.

We can't predict just what the child will be as an adult, or just what he or she will do for a living. And it is so with Jesus.
We welcome the announcement of his birth each Christmas day, but in so doing, we must also recognize
the potential that is born in us.

The birth of Christ that we celebrate is not just the birth of a baby long ago, nor just a nostalgic celebration,
but it is the celebration of the coming of God in the flesh.
We celebrate the Word made flesh, the coming of God amongst us.
This is a celebration of eternal importance.

If we leave the Christ child in the crib, then we rob the Christmas story of its true meaning.
As we welcome Him into our lives, we will shine with His reflected glory.
Our darkened world needs to see that great Light shining in the darkness.
That candle burns anew in our midst, and invites us to carry His light out into the darkness.

Let us take the light out into our world, so that others may see what we have seen and hear what we have heard,
and have the Lord Jesus Christ born in them.

Sermon By Dr. Harold L. White
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