Tonight is Christmas Eve, the night we celebrate the birth of Jesus and prepare our hearts for his
return. Tonight we light the Christ candle. We read in the Book of Luke in the message from the
Angels to the Shepherds, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people today in the
town of David, the Savior has been born to you. He is the Christ the Lord. We rejoice that Christ has
come as the gospel of John proclaims the word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
We had seen his glory.
The glory of the one and only who came from the Father.
Full of Grace and truth.
Please join me in praying. Thank you, Lord, for Jesus for entering this world. You are the light of the
world. You are our Savior. Christ the Lord Amen.
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman
world and everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of
Nazareth and Galilee to Bethlehem, the town of David. Because he belonged to the house and line of
David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting
a child while they were there. The time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her
firstborn, a son.
She wrapped him in cloth and placed them in a manger because there was no room for them in the
end. And there were shepherds living out in the field nearby keeping watch over their flock at night,
and an angel of the Lord appeared to them. And the glory of the Lord shown around them. And they
were terrified. But the angel said to them, do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will
be for all the people today in the town of David, a savior has been born to you.
He is Christ. The Lord.
Jesus laid in the sky.
Suddenly a great company of heavenly hosts appeared with the angel praising God and saying Glory
to God and the highest and on Earth peace to man on whom his favor rests. So they hurried off and
found Mary and Joseph and the baby who’s lying in a manger. When they had seen him. They spread
the word concerning what had been told to them about this child and all who heard it were amazed at
what the shepherd said to them after Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in Judea, wise men from the east
came to Jerusalem and asked, Where is the one who has been born?
The King of Jews. We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him. Jesus was King for all
people, and one day every knee will bow before him. After they had heard the King, they went up on
their way and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place
where the child was on. Coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother, Mary, and they
bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of
gold and of incense and of myrrh.
This took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the Prophet. The Virgin will be a child and will
give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means God with us.
Please stand for the reading of the gospel from the second chapter of Luke beginning in verse one. In
those days the decree went out from Emperor Augustus that all the world should be registered. This
was the first registration and was taken while Quavernius was governor of Syria. All went to their own
towns to be registered. Joseph also went from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea to the city of
David. Called Bethlehem because he was descended from the house and family of David. He went to
be registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was expecting a child while they were
The time came for her to deliver her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in
bands of cloth and laid him in a manger. Because there was no place for them in the Inn in that region
there were shepherds living in the fields keeping watch over their flock by night. Then an angel of the
Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the
angel said to them, do not be afraid, for see, I am bringing you good news of great joy for all the
people to you is born this day in the city of David.
A Savior who is the Messiah, the Lord. And this will be a sign for you. You will find a child wrapped in
bands of cloth and lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel, a multitude of the
heavenly host praising God and saying Glory to God in the highest heaven and on Earth peace among
those whom he favors. When the Angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to
one another, Let us go now to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, which the Lord has
made no to us.
So they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph and the child lying in the manger. When they saw
this, they made known what had been told them about this child and all who heard it were amazed at
what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured all these words and pondered them in her heart.
The shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen as it had been told
them, the word of the Lord speak to God.
Well. Merry Christmas, everybody heavenly Father. We ask that on this night, you would meet with us
on this night. You would speak to us on this night, which just seems like an ordinary night. In so many
ways, we might get a glimpse into that extraordinary night when Jesus was born. And we might be
able to grasp the significance for our lives, what it means for us living thousands of years later that
your son was born on Earth. So we offer ourselves up to you now and ask you to speak Lord in Jesus
Well, I got a question for the kids. All right. Hey, kids. Are you afraid of anything? Yes. I heard
somebody say, no. Most of us get afraid of stuff. There are some people in this world who it doesn’t
seem like they get afraid. There’s a guy. He’s the world champion free climber. He can climb
mountains like really steep and high mountains higher than those trees without any raps or anything,
just with his bare hands and feet. And he doesn’t seem to get scared. But the rest of us, we get scared
of all kinds of things, don’t we?
Some people are scared of the dark. Some people are scared of being alone. Some people are scared
of being in crowds, in social situations. They kind of wonder, what am I going to say? What are people
going to think of me, your parents, some of them their way and get scared about money. Are we going
to have enough in the future, right? Maybe you get scared about somebody that’s not so nice or mean.
And what are they going to do to you? There are lots of things that can make us scared.
What if I told you all you needed to not be afraid was for somebody to come up to you and say, don’t
want to be afraid. Do you think that would work? Like if you were scared of something and somebody
just said, don’t be afraid now. Sometimes it takes a little more than words. And yet those were the
words that were spoken that night. An angel of the Lord showed up in a field like this. There were
these shepherds and they’re tending their sheep out in the fields.
And it’s dark. The sun has gone down. And suddenly there’s this angel and a Holy light that’s all
around them. And it says that the glory of the Lord shown around them. And does it say they were
afraid? You know what it actually says? They were terrified. That’s like being about as afraid as you
can possibly get. Christmas message. The account of Christmas. That one of the central points of the
account of Christmas is that you can live life without being afraid. You can face the things that most
likely are going to make you afraid.
And you can have courage. You can step into them and not worry about them. Don’t be afraid. The
angel said to the people, how can you not be afraid just when somebody says, don’t be afraid,
especially when what they’re saying not to be afraid about is something that is about the most basic
fear that any of us have. And I think I’m really speaking to my dad here. You kind of learn more about
this as you grow. But the most basic fear that any of us can have is the fear about our life, like, Is our
life really worth something?
Does it matter? There’s a great movie that really deals with this question in a big way. It’s called
Serving Private Ryan. It’s about World War II. And during that time, America had learned a lesson over
the years with the wars that they’d had, because sometimes in wars, a family would lose all of its
sons, all the sons in a family. So a family could have five sons, and they would all get killed in the war.
And it was devastating for the parents. And so they made a rule that if there were several sons in a
war and some of the sons died and there was one remaining, they would do anything they could to
send them back home safe.
They would say the war is over for you. You’re going home and saving clothing. Ryan is all about that.
James Ryan is the fourth son and three of his brothers have died in the war. And so they send out a
special Squadron of soldiers to go and find Private Ryan, and they’re going through France and into
Germany to try to find Private Ryan. And when they finally do, by the time they do, several of them
have lost their lives in the attempt to get him out of there.
And this one, captain, Captain Miller, takes Private Ryan under his wing. And at one point, as they’re
trying to get away, the Germans are bombing a bridge and Captain Miller gets hit and he’s dying. And
he says to James Ryan, Private Ryan, he says, Earn it. Ryan says what he says, earn it. And of course,
what he means is a lot of people have put themselves in danger to save your life. Several of them
have lost their lives. And I’m losing my life. Now, for your sake, earn it.
Do something with your life of value and of worth. And at the end of the movie, at the end of the
movie, Ryan is now an old man, and he’s come back to France to the graveside in Normandy. And it
comes to Captain Miller’s grave site. And his family is all around him. And he breaks down crying. And
then he starts talking to the gravestone to Captain John H. Miller. And he said, I wasn’t sure how I’d
feel coming back here every day. I think about what you said to me that day on the bridge.
I tried to live my life the best that I could. I hope that was enough. I hope that at least in realize I’ve
earned what all of you have done for me. And then his wife comes up behind him and he turns to her
and he says, Tell me I’ve led a good life. And she said, what he said, tell me I’m a good man. She said,
you are to be assuaged with a word. Is my life worth it? We really like into a Christmas account.
My last senior actually, are people like you and me. People are living with the same kind of struggles
that you and I have. The beginning of this count says in those days, Caesar Augustus issued a decree
that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. This was the first census that took place
while Corinneas was governor of Syria. And anyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph
also went up from the town of Nazareth and Gallery to Judea, which is some 60 miles away.
So he’s probably walking there with a donkey. Maybe his wife’s on the back of the donkey, maybe
sometimes she’s walking. But he had to go there because he had to register because it belonged to
the house and line of David. And Bethlehem was the town of David. The same stuff that goes on all
the time in life. The random government would issue these censuses because they wanted to know
how much money could they tax the nations around them with? They also wanted to know how big of
an army could they raise up if they had to from the surrounding nations that they were ruling?
And so people had to go through the typical stuff that we have to go through to get things done, to
sign their names in certain places to have the right kind of documents. My wife and I are buying a
house with my closing on January 19. It’s an unbelievable amount of things that we have to verify
about ourselves. Can we just say, hey, we’re good, right? No. We’re going through the same stuff that
we all go through. And when we go through those things, we have anxieties right.
We’re putting money down on the house. Is that house going to be solid? Is it going to be structurally
sound? Is a septic system, which I think is about 50 years old. How much will it cost to replace that? If
we have to replace it, you get afraid of all these kind of things in life. Joseph, she’s in her 9th month of
pregnancy. They’re traveling some 60 miles. Might I go into premature area on the way, will we be
able to find a place to stay?
And the answer really was no. They end up being housed in shepherds caves. You know, where they
keep the animals, the stables, people like you and me. Well, then it goes on to say that out in the
fields, there’s those shepherds, shepherds who are humble people, poor people, brave people. They
got to protect the sheep from predators. Tough people and it’s to those people that the Lord shows
up. But in many ways, they’re people like you and me, and they begin to come undone. See what’s
going on there is that in the Bible, anytime God shows up in glory and power, I believe that God is here
right now tonight, but he’s veiled God is here, but we can’t see him in his fullness and the power of his
If he were to unleash it right now, every single one of us would fall down on our faces. Why isn’t
private Ryan was scared. Does my life measure up in the sight of a Holy God? I’ve talked with people
and I see God. If there’s a God and I see him, I’ll be like, hey, what’s up? No, that’s not the way it will be.
When God shows up, the people tremble. When God shows up, the Prophet Isaiah cried out, Lord of
me. I am rowing for I’m a man of Unclean Lips, and I love among people of Unclean Lips.
Is that true on us today? Absolutely. Isaiah thought he was going to die when he saw God. What are
you doing when we’re afraid of situations, we try our best to prepare for them. When we’re afraid of
future financial problems, maybe we work really hard to try to get enough money so that we won’t
have to be afraid of those things. If we’re afraid of losing a loved one, maybe we take extra caution
and extra care of them and try to make sure that they’re always in good health.
When we’re afraid of a social situation, maybe we try to look as best as we can. Maybe we feel like
we’ll find our comfort and our strength in having the best clothes or the best car or whatever it might
be. People do all kinds of things with fears. Sometimes they just avoid them. They try to live my life as
far away from risk and danger as they possibly can. There’s all kinds of ways to deal with fear. Do you
know what one of the best ways is to deal with fear?
Not through a what, but through a who. I find that when there’s something I’m kind of nervous about in
life, if I can find the right kind of person to lead me through it, that’s why Susan and I take some
comfort in our realtor. He is like, the best realtor ever. He knows the market. He knows houses. He’s
able to see things that help us go. Okay. We think this is the house. We’re going to step forward. This
is our third time working with them. When you have a home who’s got some knowledge or some
influence, it can take away fear.
And that’s exactly what the Angels do with the shepherds here. The shepherds are coming undone.
And they say, do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people today
in the town of David. A savior has been born to you. He is the Messiah, the Lord. The Angels give the
shepherds a who. And they said this, who is the who that Isaiah was looking for? This Hoe is the Hoo
that Moses longed for. This Hoo is the Hoo that all your people have been praying about.
This Ho is the one that is packed with the very glory of God. The very substance and power and purity
and joy and love and perfection of God is going to be packed into this room. And guess what he’s
come from. You not to tear you down, not to beat you up, not to cast you out, but to save you as
completely as a person could be saved. You know what Salvation is? It’s not just, oh, when I die, I get
to go to heaven. The word Salvation is the word.
Salvation is the same word for healing. It is to be made whole to love life in this world as a whole
person, to live life set free from fear that drags you away from being who I know I are in the Lord and
to become free for the glory of God. This will be assigned to you, said the angel. You will find a baby
wrapped in cloths. All the glory of God packed in with somebody who looks a lot like that baby right
over there. Right?
Probably a lot Browner, but a lot like every baby that’s ever come into the world, like, vulnerable. I’m so
cute. This is how Salvation is going to come. The glory of God is this it’s to give his life for the ones
that he loves. He announces that it’s going to be a baby. And suddenly the whole heavenly host is
there. There’s just been one angel and the glory of God. And that was enough to just terrify these
guys. Now the sky is literally filled with Angels, and they’re singing glory to God in the highest and on
Peace to those on whom his favor rests. Peace to humble, poor, broken, imperfect people like you and
me who actually have the opportunity for God’s favor to rest on us. Well, when Robert Ryan was on
that bridge, the captain said, and that’s where our hearts go. We think, okay, I’ve got to earn it
somehow in this life, I’ve got to show God that I’m worthy in some way. But the whole point of the
Christmas account, the whole reason they fall down on their faces in fear is that we’re not worthy.
But we are worth it. We are not worthy. But we are worth it. That’s what Christmas is all about. That
God came as a little baby who would grow to be a man who would face all the fears that you and I
face in life who would not shrink back from them but would enter fully into them. On the night before
Jesus died, he cried out to his Father, I don’t want to do this if there’s any other way. And you heard
the silence of heaven.
What I was going to do, like Captain Miller, like the men that were searching for Pratt Ryan, that he
was ultimately going to give his life, but not for one person, for the whole world, so that the whole
world could know we don’t have to earn it because the very King of Kings has laid down his life for us.
That’s what Christmas is all about. So how do you respond to that? There’s no other way to respond,
but in worship, simply to give your life, not to earn anything from God, but to give my life back to God.
And so now, Lord, I’m living for what you did because you are worth it. Lord, as a people, we go out
into the darkness and that God through us might bring light into the situations of this world, that God
through us might bring courage into this world, that the world might know that Jesus died for them,
that he loves them kids. Did you know that Jesus died for you and he loves you? He kills a little baby,
but a great man, so that you and I could know God.
And so that you and I would have courage to live this life for God. And exactly for what he created you
for the relationships and the people that you’re with, that you love, that you might show them the love
of God. So I’m going to do tonight what I’d love to do every Christmas night. I’m going to pray a prayer
of thanks to God and a prayer of us giving our lives to God anew. And if that’s something that you’ve
never done in life, this is what it says in the Bible in Him was life.
And you’ll hear us later on in the service in Him was life and that life was the light of all people. The
light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not overcome it. Jesus said, in this world, you have
many troubles, but fear not. I’ve overcome the world. I stayed at those fears, right? He came to that
which was his own, but his own did not receive him yet. So all who received him. So those who
believed in His name, he gave the power to become shadow of God.
He’s giving me that power. Well, if we’ve never received Christ, then let me open up our hearts tonight.
And if you do, you don’t have to tell anybody. All right. But here’s what I think. If you truly do. And the
Lord gets in there because he says, I don’t turn anybody away. That comes to me. If you truly do, his
life will start to grow in you. And you almost can’t help but share it with somebody. The Church
gathers around each other to help each other grow in Christ.
And that’s what will happen if you give your life to Christ. And you really want to grow. So I’m going to
just pray that. And I’m praying it for you. And if you’d like to pray this with me, please do. Let’s pray.
Heavenly Father, we give you thanks for Jesus coming into this world to die for our sins. Lord Jesus,
we ask God to forgive us all our sins. We are not worthy. But by dying, we’ve shown that we’re worth it.
Take our sins. Our fears.
Release us from all of those. And give us funnels your love. Your joy, your glory. Our lives are yours,
Lord. Not place them in your hands in Jesus name. Amen. Amen. That’s what it means to be a
Christian. It means to receive this Christ who came. And then the following. That’s his promise. If you
give his life to him, it’s a promise you can bank on.